Unmask the scams

A couple weeks ago, I saw a press release from HomeEquity Bank announcing a series of videos to help unmask the scams that are targeting Canadians. I think they are worth sharing.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) says fraud and cybercrime cost Canadians more than $530m in 2022. A recent article by Christine Dobby (Toronto Star) says those annoying telephone scam calls represented more than 10% of that total, $57M.

HomeEquity Bank’s campaign shows how easy it is to create and run a convincing deepfake scam. Using readily accessible AI technology, the series has a deepfake impersonator appearing as actor Keanu Reeves. Thieves have used Reeves’s name in a frequently reported celebrity romance scam.

The HomeEquity Bank deepfake takes viewers through three common scams to raise awareness of some of the most frequent methods of fraud targeting Canadians.

The series demonstrates how simple it can be for almost anyone to be transformed into a convincing impersonator. “The deepfake impersonator recorded the videos virtually from his home, and didn’t need any special cameras or devices to create the effect.”

HomeEquity Bank’s target market skews toward more senior client base, with its reverse mortgage product. The elderly are a frequent target for these scams.

The bank created the series as a follow up to its 2020 “Catch the Scam” campaign with Frank W. Abagnale, the con man and imposter featured in the Stephen Spielberg film “Catch Me If You Can.”

That 2020 campaign featured 4 videos, highlighting:

  • The Grandparent Scam
  • The CRA Scam
  • The Lottery Scam
  • The Romance Scam

Better education helps to unmask the scams, making them less profitable. As HomeEquity Bank writes, “We should see sharing our own experiences with scams as a means of better protecting us all. That means breaking down the stigma that comes with being the target of a scam. The more scams we can recognize and share with others, the less successful scams will be.”

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