Public security departments warn against AI fraud in China


26th May 2023 – (Beijing) Public security departments in several cities in China have warned the public to be vigilant against AI fraud, as multiple cases of fraud using artificial intelligence tools to mimic people’s voices and appearances have been exposed.

In a recent case in Baotou, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, a victim was tricked into transferring a total of 4.3 million yuan (US$612,000) via a company account after having a video chat with someone impersonating a friend. With the cooperation of the bank, police were able to halt a transfer of 3.37 million yuan, but 931,600 yuan had already been sent.

In another case in Fuzhou, Fujian province, a scammer used AI to masquerade as a friend of a legal representative of a technology company, asking him to help submit a bid of 4.3 million yuan for a project in another city. The victim transferred the money to the provided account, only to discover later that his friend had not made the video call and had not asked him to transfer any money.

The cases have sparked concern among netizens, who are calling on the government to strengthen the management of related technologies and crack down on crimes. The Internet Society of China has also issued a statement warning people to be vigilant and strengthen their awareness to keep themselves from becoming victims of scams.

The statement reminded people to be more aware of personal information protection and not be so quick to provide images of their faces,fingerprints, and other biometric data to strangers. It also urged people not to disclose details of their identity cards, bank cards, verification codes, and other similar information. People should carefully manage their social media accounts, especially when logging in on unfamiliar devices, to prevent private information from being stolen. The statement also emphasized the importance of verifying information by additional means, such as by calling the person involved in the transfer, rather than directly transferring money after communicating by text or other means without verification.

The Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Ministry of Public Security have jointly issued provisions for the administration of in-depth synthesis of internet information services, making clear constraints on the generation, replacement, and manipulation of human faces, as well as on the synthesizing and mimicking of human voices. Some platforms and enterprises have launched initiatives to ban the use of generative AI technology to create and publish infringing content, including but not limited to portrait rights and intellectual property rights.

Experts have called for the improvement and creation of laws and regulations to properly use and govern AI technology. While AI technology can be very convenient, it could also affect people’s lives negatively, if not properly used and regulated. The recent cases of AI fraud highlight the need for increased awareness and vigilance against cybercrime, as well as the importance of properly managing and regulating AI technology.