Half of US and UK finance professionals hit by deepfake fraud scams

PRNewswireJune 20, 20245 min

Half of finance professionals (53%) have been attacked with deepfake scamming attempts, with 43% admitting they have fallen victim to an attack according to new data from Medius, a leading provider of cloud-based accounts payable automation and spend management solutions.

85% of respondents say deepfake technology poses an existential crisis to the business’ financial security.

Ahmed Fessi, Chief Transformation & Information Officer, explains: “Today’s CEOs and CFOs have large digital footprints. They have speeches, interviews and videos plastered across YouTube, LinkedIn and corporate websites. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can now use existing online audio content to create fake audio that sounds just like business leaders. Scammers are creating fake audio clips of CEOs and CFOs and calling the finance team asking them to pay bogus suppliers.”

When asked, the vast majority of professionals (87%) admitted that they would make a payment if they were “called” by their CEO or CFO to make a payment. This is concerning as more than half (57%) of financial professionals can independently make financial transactions without additional approval.

Yet only 40% of professionals say protecting the business from deepfakes is a top priority. A third (33%) of employees don’t feel well educated in deepfakes. There is also little faith in colleagues, as only 36% of professionals are very confident a colleague would spot a deepfake fraud attempt.

The lack of education appears true as when asked if and what technology their business uses to protect itself against deepfakes, only 5% knew what this technology was.

Fessi continues: “There are three important factors to prevent falling victim to deepfake attacks. One is education: employees should understand the threats and know how to counteract them. Second is process. Too many businesses allow employees to make payments without the right checks and balances. Third is technology. AI is a force for good for finance professionals if deployed correctly as it can spot anomalous transactions based on large data sets.”

Traditional phishing attacks involve fraudulent emails or websites that trick individuals into divulging sensitive information or performing unauthorized transactions. Deepfakes elevate this deception to a new level, generating hyper-realistic audio or video impersonations of trusted individuals (such as CEOs or CFOs) and deceiving even the most vigilant professionals. Just as organizations have safeguards and technology in place to protect against and educate on phishing, it’s critical that the same tools and processes are leveraged to increase readiness to respond to deepfake attacks.

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