Kerala Man Duped Into Paying Rs 40,000 As Scammers Pose As Ex-Colleague On AI Video Call

Kerala Man Duped Into Paying Rs 40,000 As Scammers Pose As Ex-Colleague On AI Video Call

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A man in Kerala was cheated of Rs 40,000 by scammers who used Artificial Intelligence to impersonate his former colleague on a video call, thereby triggering panic about how the technology could be misused for such fraudulent activities. The man, identified as Kozhikode-based Radhakrishnan, fell prey to the plan hatched by the swindlers when he saw his former colleague on a video call.

Cyber Wing SP, Hari Sankar said Radhakrishnan saw one of his former colleagues on a video call and responded accordingly when he asked for financial help. “However, when he received another call seeking more money, he contacted the person directly and found out that he was scammed. Radhakrishnan contacted us immediately and we were able to block the amount,” Sankar said.

A WhatsApp message, purported to be from Radhakrishnan, is doing the rounds in Kerala, and it details how he got duped.

It quoted Radhakrishnan as saying, “Today morning around 6 am I received a call from an unknown number. Normally, I do not receive such calls. Soon after, I received a WhatsApp message from the same number where it was written that it was from one of my old colleagues who was living in the US and that he had taken a new SIM. After this, I received a WhatsApp call and it was undoubtedly my friend’s voice. He enquired about the welfare of my family members and spoke about some colleagues. Then he told me that he was at the Dubai airport and was reaching India by evening. He said his sister-in-law was admitted to a Mumbai hospital and had a surgery scheduled that day. He wanted me to help him by transferring Rs 40,000 immediately to the bystander in the hospital and said he would return the same by the evening. Then I told him there were so many scams happening these days and asked for confirmation. After this, he changed the call to video and appeared on the screen. He gave me a mobile number for making the payment.”

“When I transferred the amount, he called me back and said that the amount has been received and asked whether I could transfer another Rs 30,000. Then I became a little suspicious and told him that I didn’t have a balance for any more payments. By that time I became fully alert and tried calling my friend on the number available to me. After several rings, he picked up my call and was enquiring about my welfare. He said he was at the Dubai airport and was waiting to board the flight for India and was in fact in the queue. He found my story shocking and unbelievable. He promised to call in the evening.”

The Cyber Wing of the Kerala police said they received the information on Friday following which the money trail was traced and the particular bank was contacted to block the amount.

Cyber Wing SP, Hari Sankar told PTI, “Scammers are using innovative methods to dupe people of their money. “The scammers used an AI-based video interface to impersonate his friend and sought money.”

The Cyber Wing official urged the public to contact the Kerala Cyber Help Line number ‘1930’ in case of suspicion of any such phone calls.

He said the scammers used a basic AI-based video interface which could only be used with blurred background and basic chin, eyes and lip movement.

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