Scammer uses AI to act like man’s friend and steal millions of dollars
Authorities say that a con artist in China used AI to act as a businessman’s trusted friend and trick him into giving up millions of yuan.
Last month, the victim, whose last name was Guo, got a video call from someone who looked and sounded like a close friend.
But the caller was actually a con artist who was “using smart AI technology to change their face” and voice, according to an article released Monday by a government-run news site in the southern city of Fuzhou.
The fraudster “pretended to be (Guo’s) good friend and stole from him,” the story said.
Guo was tricked into sending 4.3 million yuan ($609,000) when a fraudster said that another friend needed the money to pay the guarantee on a public offer, and that the money had to come from a company bank account.
The con artist asked Guo for his personal bank account number and then sent him a screenshot of a fake payment record showing that a similar amount had been moved to that account.
Guo sent the amount asked for in two payments from his company account without making sure he had gotten the money.
“At the time, I checked the person’s face and voice, so I let down my guard,” Guo was quoted as saying in the story.
He didn’t realize he had made a mistake until he sent a message to his friend, whose name had been stolen. His friend didn’t know anything about the transaction.
The story said that Guo told the police, who told a bank in another city not to go through with the transfers. Guo was able to get back 3.4 million yuan.
It also said that people were still trying to get the rest of the money back, but it didn’t say who was behind the plan.
Since the US company OpenAI released ChatGPT, a chatbot that copies human speech, in November, people have been thinking more about what could go wrong with AI technology.
China has big plans to be a world leader in AI by 2030. Many tech companies, including Alibaba, JD.com, NetEase, and the company that owns TikTok, ByteDance, have rushed to make similar goods.
ChatGPT isn’t available in China, but Chinese people are using virtual private networks to get to the American software and use it to write papers and study for tests.
But it is also being used for less good things.
This month, police in the province of Gansu in the northwestern part of the country said that they had taken “coercive measures” against a man who used ChatGPT to make a fake news article about a deadly bus crash that was widely shared on social media.
A law about deepfakes that went into effect in January says that the technology can’t be used to make, post, or send fake news.
And a draft law put forward by Beijing’s internet regulator last month would require all new AI goods to go through a “security assessment” before being released to the public.