CEO Tricked Into Transferring $243,000 To Fraudsters Via Deepfake Voice Phishing Scam

Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to cheat someone out of money. A report claims that a company CEO was tricked by scammers who faked the voice of the parent company CEO to get the executive to transfer $243,000 to an external account. The story claims that in March, criminals used commercially available voice-generating AI software to impersonate the CEO of a German energy company with a division based in the UK.

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The thieves and their deepfake corporate CEO tricked the real CEO of the British energy company into transmitting funds into the claimed account of a Hungarian supplier. Guarantees were given that transfer would be reimbursed immediately.

The unwitting company CEO says that he suspected nothing once he heard the German dialect and voice patterns of his assumed boss. The money wasn't reimbursed, not surprisingly, and the fraudsters tried again to get the British CEO to send more money. However, the second time around the British CEO refused to send the payment.

The funds sent to Hungary were then shuttled around to different banks around the globe and were never recovered. Authorities have yet to find the high tech criminals but the company was insured, and it recovered the entire amount of the payment from its insurance policy. The names of the company and the parties involved haven't been disclosed for obvious reasons.

It's unclear what software was used to fake the German CEO's voice. However, with the scam actually succeeding and with such advanced software readily available, this sort of security threat vector will likely become more common.

We’re used to seeing such digital trickery with face replacement in videos. Recently, a Chinese app called Zao climbed to the top of the Chinese App Store after it allowed users to take a few selfies and put their face over the face of the actors in popular movies and TV shows.

Tags:  security, scam, AI, deepfake