The FBI has issued a warning to employers about a surge in fake applicant scams. Scammers have taken advantage of the rise in remote work and the accessibility of deep learning technology to gain access to company systems.

How does the scam work?

Scammers are using deep learning technology to create deepfakes, a new video technology that allows for the likeness of one individual to be super imposed over another person. The scam starts with scammers using stolen personal data to apply for jobs. They use deepfakes in conjunction with voice changing software to interview. Once onboarded, the scammers take advantage of system access to steal data and upload malicious software.

In general, fraudsters have targeted tech heavy roles like information technology, computer programming, database, and software related job functions. However, the FBI is starting to see the fraud spread to roles that have access to personal identification information (PII), financial data, corporate IT databases and/or proprietary information.

How do I protect my business from the deepfake scam?

Deepfakes can be very convincing, but it is still a new technology and is far from perfect.

Things to look out for during the interview:

  • Audio not sinching up with the lips
  • Glitches when someone coughs or sneezes
  • Facial anomalies, in particular:
    • Does the skin on the face look unnaturally smooth or wrinkled? Does the skin match the age of the persons eyes and hair?
    • Are shadows being cast naturally around the brow and eyes.
    • Is the glare coming from their glasses strange? Does the amount of glair match the ambient light? Is the glare coming from the correct angle when the person moves?
    • Does facial hair look real?
    • Pay attention to blinking. Does the person blink enough or too much?
    • Is there anything odd about the size or color of the person lips? Does it match the rest of the person’s face?

Other things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Don’t skip information verification, like background checks or reference checks
  • Look at their linked in profile for discrepancies in information
  • If possible, have one in-person interview
  • Trust your intuition – if something seems off conduct extra screening

As deepfake technology continues to evolve it becomes more difficult to spot them. Tech companies are aware of the dangers deepfakes technology poses and are working on technology to help people spot them. Unfortunately the technology has not hit the market yet. So, the most important thing you can do today is be aware of the risk and do your due diligence when hiring. To test your knowledge of deepfakes and ability to spot them check out this deepfake quiz by Microsoft. To stay up to date with the world of work sign up for our newsletter today.