South Korean Woman Scammed Out Of RM240,000 By Elon Musk Deepfake

South Korean Woman Scammed Out Of RM240,000 By Elon Musk Deepfake

Tragedy has struck a South Korean woman who has lost up to 70 million won (approximately RM242,905) in a romance scam. However, this was no ordinary romance scam; the woman was duped by a deepfake video featuring Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

According to reporting by the Independent, the victim said that her dream came true when began exchanging correspondence with a man on social media platform Instagram, claiming to be the famous American tech mogul himself. The victim told South Korean broadcaster KBS that the so-called “Mr Musk” shared pictures of his work, spoke about his children, and told her he liked to contact his fans randomly.

The victim explained that the scammer added her as a friend on Instagram in July of 2023. She doubted the authenticity of the scammer at first, but after sending her multiple photos of Musks’ ID, and workplace, the victim was eventually convinced when she had a video call with the conman. Unfortunately, the conman was using a rather convincing deepfake video of Elon Musk to trick the victim.

Once convinced, the conman proceeded with the usual romance scam tactics. They provided a Korean bank account to the victim and persuaded her to invest her money so that she could get rich; telling her “I’m happy when my fans are getting rich because of me”.

For those not in the know, deepfakes are complex artificial intelligence (AI) programmes that can create convincing image, audio and video hoaxes. It uses an advanced form of machine learning called “deep” learning. It is so efficient at what it does that the videos that it can generate can be very convincing.

The public should be aware that conmen like to utilise high profile and popular individuals in an attempt to gain more credibility during their scams. They can also utilise the names of government establishments in an attempt to acquire sensitive information.

If you are not sure what a scam looks or sounds like, you can check out our article on the most common money scams in Malaysia. We also have an article on what to do if you have been scammed.

If you suspect that you have been scammed, it is highly recommended that you also contact the National Scam Response Centre (NRSC) at 997. The NSRC operates from 8am to 8pm daily.

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