Romance con artist used Deepfakes to impersonate Navy admiral and Bilk’s widow for nearly $ 300,000

Californian widow was scammed for at least $ 287,000 by an unidentified foreign con artist who seduced her online by using a “deepfake” video to impersonate the superintendent of the US Naval Academy , according to federal prosecutors.

Deepfakes, created using artificial intelligence to make it look like someone is doing or saying something they are not doing, have been labeled a threat to national security. Researchers have long feared that technology could distort democracy, making it impossible for people to distinguish between fact and fiction. But this is the first time they’ve seen a deepfake used specifically to perpetuate a romance scam, an expert said.

In the fall of 2019, about six months after her husband’s death, a Santa Monica woman identified in court records only as “MM” joined an online dating site. She soon met a purported US Navy admiral named Sean Buck, who said he was stationed on an aircraft carrier in the Middle East. They developed a relationship over the following months via emails and video chats on Skype, during which Buck – who for some reason also called himself “Scott” – was still dressed in his military uniform.

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