Various scammers and hackers use deepfakes for everything from impersonating celebrities to fraudulently extorting money from unsuspecting victims. The most recent scam took place in Hong Kong, where an employee of the finance department of an unnamed multinational company was convinced to transferred 200 million Hong Kong dollars (almost 600 million CZK) to the fraudster’s account.

According to Hong Kong police, the fraudster contacted employees and posed as the CFO of a UK-based company. The employee was initially suspicious because the email invited unauthorized financial transactions. But the fraudster forced him to take part in a video call with the alleged “CFO” and other well-known members of the company. In fact, every person he interacted with was a deepfake – probably created using publicly available video clips of real people.

The fake director asked the employee to introduce himself and then quickly instructed him to make 15 transfers involving $25.6 million to five bank accounts. This created a sense of urgency for the scammer and then the call ended abruptly. A week later, the employee verified the request with his superiors and discovered that he had been cheated.

Hong Kong police have so far arrested six people in connection with the scam. Those in question stole eight identification cards and submitted 54 bank account registrations and 90 loan applications in 2023. At least in 20 cases too they used deepfakes to fool facial recognition software.