Beware! Man loses Rs. 40000 in scary deepfake call scam! Check top 5 tips to stay vigilant

Getting a call from a friend in need is something we all want to help with, especially if their family member is in the hospital. But what if that call turns out to be a scary scam? That’s what happened to Radhakrishan P S, a former Coal India executive who lost Rs. 40000 in a deepfake scam. Considering the progress these cybercriminals have made with the help of AI tools, you too may be targetted and therefore, there is an urgent need to stay vigilant. Know what happened and how to protect yourself.

On July 9, Radhakrishan received WhatsApp messages and a video call from an unknown number. The person claimed to be Venu Kumar, a friend of 40 years from Radhakrishan’s Coal India days. The conversation seemed real, with shared memories and photos. The fake friend urgently asked for Rs. 40000 for his sister’s surgery.

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Despite initial suspicion, Radhakrishan transferred the money through Google Pay, trusting his long-time friend. However, when the scammer demanded Rs. 35000 more, Radhakrishan realised something was wrong. He called the real Venu Kumar, confirming the scam, and reported it to the police, the Indian Express reported.

After a four-month investigation, the police arrested one suspect, Shaik Murtuzamiya Hayat Bhai, from Gujarat. The main culprit, Kaushal Shah from Ahmedabad, is still on the run. This case is the first instance of a cybercrime using deepfake technology to manipulate facial appearances during a scam.

Police Commissioner Rajpal Meena explained that Kaushal used deep fake tech to impersonate Radhakrishan’s friend during the video call, fooling him into transferring the funds. The money trail revealed that the funds went to Ahmedabad and then to a gambling firm, where Kaushal played. The complicated route was aimed at confusing the police, intending to return the money as fake gambling wins.

Tips to protect yourself from such scary deep fake scams:

1. Make your social media profiles private and be cautious about sharing too much personal information – this includes photos, audio and video too.

2. Be careful when answering calls from unknown numbers; scammers can use legitimate numbers to trick you.

3. Before acting, take a moment to contact your loved one directly to verify and confirm fully.

4. Report the scam to the police immediately.

5. If you inadvertantly shared sensitive information, contact your financial institutions to secure new accounts and cards. Monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity.

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