Tuesday, 27 February 2018 09:10

Chartered Financial Planner warns of ‘deepfake’ scams

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Elderly investors can be at risk of 'deepfake' scams Elderly investors can be at risk of 'deepfake' scams

Surrey-based Informed Choice, a firm of Chartered Financial Planners, is warning about the risks of an emerging video technology with the potential to cheat investors.

One of the company’s clients nearly lost tens of thousands of pounds recently in an attempted ‘deepfake’ video scam.

The company says that ‘deepfakes’ have become widespread as a tool to manipulate photographs and videos with the original actor’s face being replaced.

Using artificial intelligence and a library of still images, software can almost seamlessly replace one individual with another in a video.

Videos are created using a machine learning algorithm based on easily accessible open source software. It is being widely used already to create fake pornographic videos, mapping the faces of celebrities onto those of the original adult entertainers.

Informed Choice director Martin Bamford said: “Within a matter of months, this technology will have developed to the extent it will be possible for investment fraudsters to create videos which are indistinguishable from the real thing.

“We have already prevented one client from being conned out of tens of thousands of pounds she was tempted to invest with a scammer after seeing a video featuring a very convincing Bill Gates impersonator.

“We expect to see deepfake technology being used by fraudsters to create videos featuring (bogus versions of) Warren Buffett, Elon Musk or Martin Lewis apparently endorsing an investment. Scammers could also make videos purporting to be from an investor’s financial adviser, recommending they place their money in a dodgy scheme.”

Informed Choice is warning clients about the risks to investors posed by deepfake technology and suggests that awareness of the software is key to preventing future consumer detriment.

Mr Bamford added: “With this technology becoming more advanced and widespread, investors will need to take even more care with their money and be less trusting about apparent video endorsements. There are lots of positives to come from machine learning, but deepfake videos are one of the worrying consequences of exponentially improving technology.”

 

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