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'Trudeau said that he invested in the same thing:' How a deepfake video cost an Ontario man $11K US


An Ontario man who was persuaded to invest $11,000 USD after seeing a video of what appeared to be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Elon Musk endorsing a platform said he was shocked to find it was all a scam — and that the video had been a deepfake.

“Trudeau said that he invested in the same thing and he made quite a bit of money, so, I thought it was an opportunity and maybe I could invest a few dollars and the money will grow,”said John, resident of Barrie, Ont. whom CTV News Toronto has agreed to refer to by a pseudonym.

John said he thought the videos were real and that he contacted the investment platform. He said he was encouraged to start with a $250 investment and that it appeared as though he was making money.

“He showed me that the money doubled and as time went by, he told me to invest a little more, and I invested a little more again and he showed me that the money doubled again,” he continued.

John said he ended up investing $11,000 USD and that he was told it had accumulated to $46,000 USD.

When he tried to withdraw the money, he was told it was blocked and that he would have to pay $6,000 more to have the funds released.

That’s when John said he knew he had been scammed.

“I really thought it was real,”John said.

The videos turned out to be deepfakes, a term that refers to media manipulated or fabricated using artificial intelligence.

The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) is a self-regulatory organization that oversees all investment dealers and trading activity on Canada’s debt and equity marketplaces.

Karen McGuinness, the head of the office of the investor of IIROC, told CTV News Toronto that investors need to do their due diligence and research before giving money to anyone, making sure to check the background and licencing of the advisor.

"If someone could make those kinds of returns on a no-risk basis, why are they coming to you and asking for your money," McGuinness said.

"Check their background, their experience, what are they licensed to trade in, [and] who are they employed by," she continued.

John said he was shocked to lose his investment.

“I’m a semi-retired guy and I don't have very much money," he said. "I make minimum wage and this hurts, not knowing that this thing was a complete scam.”

Some deepfakes are easier to spot than others, as some lip movements might not match the audio, the eyes may not move naturally, and the video may seem choppy.

IIROC also cautions investors not to make investment decisions based on what they see on social media unless they can fact-check them through trusted and reliable sources. Top Stories

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