Deepfakes are now prevalent on social media platforms and the Internet. While they can be used legitimately to create entertainment content, they can also be used by scammers to prey on new victims.
What is deepfake technology?
A deepfake, as the name suggests, uses artificial intelligence to create highly realistic images or sound clips of fake events. Deepfakes can be used to accurately recreate the voices or fabricate highly realistic-looking videos of well-known public figures or your friends and relatives. Scammers can also use deepfake technology to design fictitious people and invent virtual lives for them by setting up fake social media profiles for them. Deepfakes can make anyone say anything in order to get you, for example, to put money into totally fictitious investments or discredit a well-known personality.
How to recognize a deepfake scam?
Well-designed deepfakes are difficult to spot. However, be on the lookout for red flags of fraud:
- A celebrity tells you about a high-return, risk-free investment
- Someone asks for permission to access your computer directly so they can assist you
- You’re being pressured to make a quick decision to avoid missing out on a “one-of-a-kind opportunity”
- You’re asked to make a very small initial deposit (around CAN$350 or US$250) to gain your trust
- To earn your trust and get you to invest more, they will let you withdraw some of your money. After a while, however, the scammers will cut off all contact with you
- You receive an unsolicited offer to recover losses for a fee
- Someone you know calls you and asks for money to help with a personal emergency
What you can do to protect yourself
Before you invest:
- Remember: as a general rule, anyone trying to sell you an investment product or giving you financial advice, whether you know them or not, must be registered. Always check whether the firm or individual who contacted you is on the Register of firms and individuals authorized to practise or call the AMF Information Centre
- Don’t fall for promises of high returns at zero risk
- Don’t give strangers remote access to your phone, tablet or computer
- Beware of opportunities offered requiring urgent action
- Refuse offers to recover losses. Once the money has been sent, it’s almost impossible to get it back. Anyone offering a recovery solution is most likely a scammer
- Don’t share your personal information or send money until you’ve confirmed the identity of the person you’re talking to, even if it’s someone you know claiming it’s for an emergency