Deepfake Video Costs Chinese Company $25 Million

MDV Edwards /
MDV Edwards /

At a Hong Kong press conference on February 2nd, Chinese officials were forced to admit one of their companies (who has so far gone unnamed) was duped for over $25 million. Senior superintendent Baron Chan Shun-ching told the city’s public broadcaster RTHK, “(In the) multi-person video conference, it turns out that everyone [he saw] was fake.”

Contacted with deepfake credentials, the worker initially dismissed a funding request email under suspicion of the email being a phishing scam. With the lengthy description of this needing to be a secretive transaction, it would seem clear that his suspicions were correct. According to Chan, when he took a video call with the emailer and saw multiple colleagues he knew, his fears were relieved.

Seeing their faces, the man then authorized the release of $200 million Hong Kong dollars, roughly $25.6 million.

While little relief to the company, Chan said they were not the only ones duped by such scams, and that they had recently arrested six people for similar crimes. These people were arrested with eight stolen Hong Kong IDs, all of which had been reported, and with that, the group had applied for 90 loan applications across 54 different bank accounts. Occurring between July and September 2023, they used AI deepfake technology to get through video meetings about the loans.

In this instance, the only reason the transaction was discovered was when the employee later double-checked with the head office. Hiding the name of the worker and the business, Hong Kong PD seemingly has been trying to lure the criminals out. Likely to recover as much of the money as is possible. Mind you, it’s likely very long gone.

For Americans, we need to take this as a warning for the future. If they can fake CFOs and other coworkers, it could easily be done to lure information from you under false pretenses of being for a job or by an employer. One thing is for certain, this is beginning to go too damn far.