May 24, 2023

Scammer uses AI to defraud lawyer of $609,000  

Scammer uses AI to defraud lawyer

By Biodun Busari

A scammer has used artificial intelligence to defraud a legal representative of a technology company in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China.

A report by China Daily said the incident happened on April 20, when a man simply identified as Guo received a video call via WeChat from a friend asking him for help.

The public security bureau of Baotou, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, reported that Guo was scammed of 4.3 million yuan ($609,912) via a company account after a video chat with someone faking to be his friend.

With the cooperation of the bank, police were able to stop a transfer of 3.37 million yuan, but said they are still trying to recover 931,600 yuan that had already been sent.

The report said the supposed friend on the other side of the call was a fraudster, as he told Guo that he was bidding for a project in another city and wanted to use Guo’s company account to submit 4.3 million yuan. 

He promised to pay Guo back immediately after the project was approved, China Daily said.

The fake friend then provided a bank account number to Guo and then sent a screenshot of the bank transfer voucher as evidence that the money had been transferred to Guo’s company account.

Guo then transferred 4.3 million yuan to the provided account in two separate payments.

When Guo called his real friend for verification after completing the transfers, his friend denied that he had made a video call to Guo or had asked him to transfer any money.

Guo realised that he was deceived by a fraudster and made a phone call with the Fuzhou police to immediately report the fraud. 

After discovering that the fake friend’s account was with Mengshang Bank in Baotou, Fuzhou police soon contacted Baotou police to stop the payment.

With assistance from the bank, Baotou police successfully stop a transfer of about 3.37 million yuan from going into the fraudster’s account. 

Fuzhou police also provided Baotou police with information about the remaining 931,600 yuan, which had already been transferred.

Baotou police said they are working to recover the stolen money.

“The person on the other side didn’t ask me to lend him money during the chat. He said that he would transfer the money first, and then what I needed to do was transfer his money to his company’s account,” Guo said.

“He chatted with me via video call, and I also confirmed his face and voice in the video. That’s why we let our guard down,” he added.

The Chinese police warned the public about this new type of AI fraud as technology is aiding the digital age in diverse sectors including scammers.

People are urged to be careful about sharing their personal biological information such as facial images and fingerprints and about disclosing identification and banking information.

The public was also reminded to check the identity of the other party through various communication channels such as through phone calls before transferring funds. 

Police added that people should report suspected fraud as soon as possible.