Singaporean man's face ends up in deepfake porn after he refuses to pay hacker $5,800

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A Singaporean man found himself in the middle of a deepfake porn scandal after a hacker messaged his friends and ex-colleagues and shared a video of a person with his face performing sexual acts.

The incident started on April 21 when the 20-year-old man, identified as Owen, was woken up by an overseas phone call from an unknown number, according to his police report that his acquaintance, Ednes Lee,shared on Facebook on April 22.

Owen answered the call, thinking it was his manager, but he received no response. Shortly after hanging up, a person going by the name of “Lori” messaged him via the Line app and showed him screenshots of his contact list.

In his police report, Owen said the hacker found a way to access his phone’s media files and then threatened to send a deepfake porn video of him to his contacts unless he gave them 8,000 Singaporean dollars (approximately $5,796). Deepfake is a type of artificial intelligence that can be used to alter the face of a person in a video to make them look like someone else.

Screenshots of Owen’s exchange with Lori, which Lee also shared on Facebook, show how the hacker threatened him, explaining that they belong to a “professional organisation” and “only want money.”

Lori advised Owen not to contact the authorities, saying, "It will only infuriate me, and I will make your reputation suffer more. As long as you listen to us and pay a small fee, we will delete the footage and not bother you."

Owen brushed off the threat, thinking it was just a scam. Hours later, the hacker sent a deepfake video of someone with Owen’s face engaging in sexual acts to Lee, asking if she could identify the person in the clip, Lee said in anow-deleted Facebook post.

BRB [be right back], time to go wash my eyes. The person literally sent me the whole damn video to see if I recognize him. Oh dear god,” Lee wrote, saying she believed the hacker’s allegation that the man in the video had engaged in sexual services but refused to pay for them.

Owen became aware of the situation after seeing Lee’s post. He reached out to her and shared that he was hacked by Lori.

Screenshots of the exchange between Lee and the hacker revealed that Lee never saved Owen’s number on her phone. Lee, who sells game credits, clarified in anupdated Facebook post that Owen used to purchase in-game currency for “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang” from her.

Owen found out that several of his other contacts, including his friends and ex-colleagues, also received the deepfake porn video from various unknown overseas numbers. He filed a police report the following day and told Lee that some of his friends have encountered the same type of blackmail scheme.


Feature Image via Scott Evans / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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