As technology keeps advancing, it's important to stay aware of potential scams. One such scam that's gaining attention is the deepfake scam. But what exactly is a deepfake, and how can you spot one?

What is a deepfake?

A deepfake is a type of synthetic media that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to manipulate or replace existing images or videos with fake ones. The term "deepfake" comes from a combination of "deep learning" and "fake." Deep learning is a type of AI that can learn and mimic human-like behaviours, while "fake" speaks for itself – it's something that's not genuine or real.

Simply speaking, a deepfake scam is when someone uses this AI technology to create fake videos, images, or audio that look and sound convincingly real, with the intention of committing fraud or scamming people into handing over their money.

Examples of deepfake scams

Deepfake scams can take various forms, but they often involve impersonating someone else to deceive or manipulate others. For instance:

  • Fraudulent Videos
    Scammers can create fake videos of public figures, celebrities, or even friends and family, saying or doing things that are not true. These videos can be used to spread misinformation, damage reputations, or extort money.

  • Impersonation
    Using videos or recordings available on social media of your loved ones, scammers can recreate their voice or facial features to contact you asking for money. In these types of deepfake scams, the loved one will usually sound distressed and have a sense of urgency to prey upon on your fear or emotions.

  • Fake News
    Deepfakes can also be used to create fake news stories or manipulate existing ones. A common example is celebrity investment scams which involves fake videos or images of a local or international celebrity claiming to have made huge sums of money through a trading platform.

How to spot a deepfake scam

Spotting a deepfake can be challenging, but there are some signs to look out for:

  1. Watch for unnatural movements or glitches in the video, such as odd facial expressions or jerky motions, which could indicate that the video has been manipulated.

  2. Pay attention to inconsistencies between the audio and video, such as mismatched lip movements or unusual voice tones.

  3. Verify the source of the video or message, if it's from an unfamiliar or untrustworthy source be cautious. For example, if a video, message or phone call claims to be from a loved one but they’re using a strange phone number, this could be a red flag. Instead, attempt to contact the person directly using their normal contact details.

  4. Look for signs of editing, such as abrupt cuts or changes in lighting, which could suggest the video has been altered.

  5. When in doubt do a search online. Try to find out if others have reported being contacted with the same kind of scam recently. You can also try googling the phone number if you didn’t recognise it and see if it’s been flagged as a scam.

Tips for Keeping Your Personal Information Safe

To protect yourself from deepfake scams and other forms of online fraud, consider the following tips:

  • Be skeptical: Question the authenticity of suspicious messages or requests, especially if they seem too good to be true or come from unknown sources.
  • Enable two-factor authentication: This will add an extra layer of security than just a password alone.
  • Keep software updated: Keep your devices and software up to date with the latest security patches to minimise potential attacks.
  • Educate yourself: Stay informed about emerging scams and techniques used by scammers to avoid falling victim to their latest traps.
  • Report suspicious activity: If you encounter a scam or any other form of online fraud, report it to Scamwatch, which is run by the National Anti-Scam Centre, to help prevent others from falling victim.


This information provides general advice only. We do not provide advice based on any consideration of your personal objectives, needs or circumstances.