Deepfake 'models' blackmailing men online, HCMC police warn

By Quoc Thang   June 16, 2024 | 02:00 am PT
Deepfake 'models' blackmailing men online, HCMC police warn
Examples of deepfake technologies being used to blackmail people. Photo courtesy of HCMC police
Criminals are using AI deepfake technologies to lure men into sexting with accounts masquerading as supermodels before blackmailing them, HCMC police said Saturday.

The cybersecurity division under the HCMC police department said it is cooperating with other investigative sectors to look into cases of people being tricked by deepfake technologies.

A man named Hung, who lives in District 10, said a Facebook account with the avatar of a famous female model sent him a friend request last month. He said he was doubtful at first, but when the "model" called him on video and showed him her face and personal life, he became hooked.

One day, when he was drunk, the "model" asked if they should try sexting, and Hung agreed.

In the days that came after, Hung was repeatedly blackmailed with clips of the chats, and threatened that they would be sent to his wife, friends and relatives. Hung was afraid, had to transfer money into a bank account that the "model" sent him.

Even after he had sent in the money, Hung continued to be threatened, and he transferred a total of VND500 million ($19,642). After he caved in to fear and anxiety, he reported the matter to the police.

Cases like Hung are not rare, the police said. Authorities have been receiving several reports from people being approached by criminals on social media platforms like Facebook, Tinder or Zalo, who masquerade as models then eventually blackmail them.

They utilized deepfake technologies, and perform video calls in real-time to gain the trust of victims, the police added.

HCMC police said people should not share their photos online too often, as well as sharing photos and videos with sensitive content.

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