There’s a whole new wave of investment scams – and they feature people you might know

Dive into the shadowy world of AI-generated deepfakes and investment scams to uncover how scammers do it – and how to avoid getting tricked.

Financial scams are like that one guest at the party who just won’t leave, constantly evolving and finding new ways to crash our digital lives. Lately, they’ve taken a turn for the futuristic, with AI-generated videos popping up in investment scams.

Imagine sitting down for your morning coffee, scrolling through your feed, and seeing a video of Elon Musk or even a country’s president talking up the next big investment platform. Only, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

In the Avast Q4 2023 Threat Report, Avast researchers found that these types of scams peaked in mid-November, with things cooling down as the year wrapped up. Maybe the scammers decided to take a holiday break, or perhaps we’re getting better at spotting their tricks. Either way, understanding these patterns helps us stay one step ahead, keeping ourselves safe in a world where scams are becoming a seasonal affair. 

With all that in mind, let’s break down this wild ride of AI trickery, its impact on us, and how we can dodge these digital bullets.

The AI scam revolution

Remember the early days of AI videos? They were kind of like those bad lip-reading videos – fun but obviously fake. Fast forward to now, and it’s like stepping into a sci-fi movie. These videos have gotten so good, they’re duping folks left and right, marking a whole new chapter in the saga of financial scams. It’s like we’re living in a world where seeing shouldn’t always be believing.

That’s because scammers are getting crafty, using the faces of people we know and trust to sell their stories. The Avast Q4 2023 Threat Report threw the spotlight on some jaw-dropping examples, like deepfakes of Czech President Petr Pavel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, all to charm us into clicking on shady investment links. It’s a psychological game – seeing a familiar face makes the scam feel more believable and more trustworthy. But, in reality, it’s just a high-tech wolf in sheep’s clothing.

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill scam ads anymore. We’re talking about a whole production – edited videos with famous folks seemingly endorsing fake platforms. The scammers have upped their game, dropping names of non-existent sites and products to make their pitch sound legit. It’s a clever trick, making the false seem true, and it’s changing the face of online fraud as we know it.

How to steer clear of deepfake investment scams

So, how do we keep from falling into these high-tech traps?

  • Embrace your inner sceptic: Treat every “amazing opportunity” with a pinch (or a handful) of scepticism. If it sounds too dreamy, it might just be a dream.
  • Sniff out the fishy: Got that “something’s off” feeling? Trust it. If something smells fishy, it’s probably not just your lunch.
  • Double check the dreamy deals: See an offer that promises the moon for a spoon? Give it a thorough second look. Too-good-to-be-true usually is.
  • When in doubt, shout it out: Unsure about an offer? There’s power in community and resources galore for reporting scams and seeking help if you’ve been snagged by one.

The digital world’s a wild place, with AI-generated deepfakes and celebrity scams adding a new layer of intrigue to the mix. But knowledge is power, and now that you know what’s out there, you’re better equipped to navigate these tricky waters. Stay curious, stay cautious, and let’s keep our digital lives scam-free.

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