This could be the most expensive video call ever — "Deepfake CFO" tricks employee into handing over $25m to scammers

AI deepfake faces
(Image credit: Shutterstock/ Lightspring)

A major finance company has been conned out of millions of dollars due to a deepfake video call impersonating a senior staff member.

Reports claim that a clerk at the firm was invited to a call with the CFO based in London, along with other workers. However, the "CFO" turned out to be an AI representation, and demanded that the clerk make money tranfers into different bank accounts, which they did.

In total, it is claimed that $25m (HK$200m) was stolen in the scam. Hong Kong police believe that the threat actors had downloaded videos of previous conference calls at the company as a basis for AI to replicate the look and sound of the CFO. 

The deepfake problem

There are conflicting reports as to whether the other participants in the call were real or deepfaked as well. Regardless, the their presence reassured the clerk that the call was real, after apparently having doubts initially.

It is believed that this is the first incident in Hong Kong where a company has been scammed via a deepfake in a video conference. However, other deepfake scams have taken place in the country. 

Hong Kong police also said in a press conference in relation to the incident that they have made six arrests recently involving identity theft scams, some of which made use of AI-generated deepfakes.

The threat of deepfakes has loomed for a while, and thanks to the recent explosion in AI technologies, it may be that such scams become more frequent and sophisticated.

Most infamously, AI-generated explicit images of pop star Taylor Swift were posted on X and other social media platforms recently, before being taken down. This led to a bipartisan bill in the US, that would allow victims to sue the creators of such deepfakes for damages.


Lewis Maddison
Staff Writer

Lewis Maddison is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro. His area of expertise is online security and protection, which includes tools and software such as password managers. 

His coverage also focuses on the usage habits of technology in both personal and professional settings - particularly its relation to social and cultural issues - and revels in uncovering stories that might not otherwise see the light of day.

He has a BA in Philosophy from the University of London, with a year spent studying abroad in the sunny climes of Malta.