A Woman Lost $50,000 to a Deepfake Elon Musk in AI Romance Scam

Deep Fake Elon Musk is Scamming People on YouTube

A woman was scammed of $50,000 by a deepfake Elon Musk who sent her AI-generated photos and told her he loved her over a deepfake video call.

According to local media reports, a South Korean woman, who was given the pseudonym Jeong Ji-sun, says she began talking to a man on Instagram who was claiming to be the American billionaire in July 2023.

The South Korean woman says she gradually began to believe that she was conversing with the real Musk after the person she was talking to sent her AI-generated photos of what appeared to be Musk’s ID card and images of himself at work.

“Although I have been a huge fan of Musk after reading his biography, I doubted it at first,” Ji-Sun says, according to The Korea Herald.

“’Musk’ sent me his ID card and a photo of him at work… He also explained that he contacts fans randomly.”

Convinced By a Deepfake Video Call

The pair continued to converse on social media. Eventually, the scammer posing as Musk had a deepfake video with Ji-Sun in which he told her that he loved her.

“‘Musk’ even said ‘I love you, you know that?’ when we made a video call,” the woman says.

After having this deepfake video call with Musk, Ji-Sun fully believed that the scammer was who he claimed to be.

The woman said the scammer eventually convinced her to transfer 70 million Korean won ($50,000) to a bank account he said belonged to one of his Korean employees. The woman claims that the person behind the fake Musk claimed he would make her rich by investing her money.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that romance scams had cost victims $1.3 billion in 2022. The surge of AI images and deepfake video technology making it harder to determine what is real on social media and on dating apps — leading to a an uptick in romance scams.

In recent months, the FBI has also issued warnings the rise in deepfake scams on a wider scale. In February, a financier was scammed into paying $25.6 million to criminals after a virtual meeting with deepfakes.