Deepfake pretends to be a director, steals $35 million from the bank


A group of scammers use “deep voice” technology to impersonate the director of a company and then call a bank manager in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two people talked on the phone, so the bank manager recognized the acquaintance.

The fake director said that their company is about to buy a business, so it needs the bank to approve a transfer of $ 35 million. They hired an attorney named Martin Zelner to coordinate the process. An email confirming the receiving address will be sent to the bank manager.

The manager believed and initiated the transfer without knowing that he had fallen victim to an elaborate scam.

This scam took place in 2020. The UAE believes that the scam group has at least 17 members. After stealing $35 million, the group transferred the money to multiple bank accounts around the world. UAE authorities are asking US investigators to track down the $400,000 stolen that was transferred to accounts at Centennial Bank in the country by the fraud group.

This is the second public fake deepfake scam. Earlier in 2019, a group of criminals also impersonated the CEO of an energy company in the UK to steal $ 243,000.

Currently, working remotely has become a trend due to the impact of the pandemic. This increases the risk of high-tech scams, especially as AI is increasingly used and used to create fake images and voices.

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