Scammer Successfully Deepfaked CEO’s Voice To Fool Underling Into Transferring $243,000
The CEO of an energy firm based in the UK thought he was following his boss’s urgent orders in March when he transferred funds to a third-party. But the request actually came from the AI-assisted voice of a fraudster. The Wall Street Journal reports that the mark believed he was speaking to the CEO of his businesses’ parent company based in Germany.
The German-accented caller told him to send €220,000 ($243,000 USD) to a Hungarian supplier within the hour. The firm’s insurance company, Euler Hermes Group SA, shared information about the crime with WSJ but would not reveal the name of the targeted businesses. Euler Hermes fraud expert Rüdiger Kirsch told WSJ that the victim recognized his superior’s voice because it had a hint of a German accent and the same “melody.”
This was reportedly the first time Euler Hermes has dealt with clients being affected by crimes that used AI mimicry. Kirsch told WSJ the fraudster called the victim company three times. Once the transfer occurred, the attacker called a second time to falsely claim that the money had been reimbursed.
Then the hacker reportedly called a third time to ask for another payment. Even though the same fake voice was used, the last call was made with an Austrian phone number and the “reimbursement” had not gone through, so the victim grew more skeptical of the caller’s authenticity and didn’t comply.