Wondering why you’re seeing videos of a national news anchor promoting a cannabis company on YouTube? Or why tech billionaire Elon Musk is being featured in an ad promoting an investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true?
No matter how convincing it may have looked, the video is likely a deepfake, a term that refers to media manipulated or fabricated using artificial intelligence.
Jeff Horncastle, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s (CAFC) client and communications officer, is warning Canadians about rising video and audio scams that use the likeness of media personalities to advertise fraudulent cryptocurrency platforms and other scams.
« All (fraudsters) need is a little bit of audio from the person who they want to deepfake, potentially a photo or short audio clip, and they use that as an extra tool to try to convince potential victims that it’s a real, » Horncastle told CTV National News.
These fraudsters often draw on household names to build trust, such as U.S. TV personalities Gayle King, Tucker Carlson and Bill Maher.
Deepfake videos advertising scams on YouTube have also featured CTV National News’s own Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor Omar Sachedina. One of these ads appears to show Sachedina presenting a news item, but instead praising a cannabis company. The audio, while well-matched to the video, is fake.
Another video shows Tesla founder Elon Musk selling stock in fraudulent crypto companies.
Although the AI technology behind this isn’t new, it’s becoming easier to access apps and websites that can be used to generate convincing fake images, videos and audio clips featuring familiar faces.