NEW DELHI: Cyber cops have a new challenge ahead of them. Scammers involved in making and recording nude video calls to extort money are going high-tech. The police investigation has revealed that these criminals are using deep fake videos of virtual women and generating their voices digitally.
In a recent case, after accepting a friend request from a beautiful woman on social media, a 46-year-old Ahmedabad-based businessman became a victim of sextortion. They exchanged phone numbers within two days, and the woman made a video call.
All it took was a 15-second video call, while making suggestive gestures, the woman uttered sweet nothings. The businessman who has a unit in Odhav received an extortion call within 15 minutes.
“The callers threatening to make the video viral if I didn’t pay Rs 2 lakh. I hadn’t used any vulgar language. Still, the caller persisted and eventually settled for Rs 50,000 to put an end to the matter,” the businessman told cyber-cell police.
Interestingly, when the police investigated, their software revealed that the woman in the video clip was not a real woman, but a deep fake created by advanced computer imaging and technology!
Police are seeing a change in modus-operandi. Earlier, such calls required a female accomplice, but the new technology has eliminated the need.
For deep fake’s creators, computer-generated imagery does the heavy lifting, and it’s possible that these virtual characters are voiced. Alternatively, they could be using pornographic video clips to lure men and young people into their web of deceit.
“sextortion rackets may have relied on virtual computer-generated women to lure victims,”Premveer Singh, Ahmedabad crime branch’s joint commissioner of police was quoted in a media report.
“Investigations into cybercrime are always difficult because the suspects are usually anonymous and operate from other states, which creates jurisdictional problems. Despite the difficulties and limitations, we are now able to arrest these criminals,” Singh said.
In another case of sextortion, a 29-year-old telecom executive was recorded on video call with a woman engaging in suggestive activities after accepting a friend request on social media, and a police investigation revealed that the woman on the call was not a real woman but the result of digital deep fake.
“Scammers appear to be heavily utilising technology to reduce the footprints of people involved in these scams. It has been observed that the voices of women in many videos are also digitally altered using software that converts text into audio,” a cyber cell official said.
Such cases of extortion are increasingly rapidly. Every state police are getting at least 10-15 cases a day. Most of the victim doesn’t report the matter to police, fearing matter becoming public.
Expert claims the best way to avoid such situations is to decline friend requests from strangers on social media. If someone has been recorded it is advised not to pay them extortion money.