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A deepfake Keanu Reeves is hosting HomeEquity Bank’s new anti-fraud series

60 per cent of the world’s phishing attempts are targeted towards Canadians

TORONTO, March 21, 2023 /CNW/ – HomeEquity Bank, provider of the CHIP Reverse Mortgage, today released a new educational video series called Unmask the Scam that shows just how easy it is to create and run a convincing deepfake scam. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) fraud and cybercrime reports are up 40 per cent from the year before, and totalled C$530m in victim losses in 2022.

With the help of readily accessible AI technology, a deepfake impersonator appears in the series as Canadian movie star Keanu Reeves, due to the actor’s “involvement” in the frequently reported celebrity romance scam. As the celeb, our deepfake takes viewers through three ripped-from-the-headlines scenarios to raise awareness of the most frequent methods of fraud targeting Canadians 55 and up. The educational series demonstrates just how simple it is for almost anyone to transform themselves into a convincing A-lister impersonator, while clearing the famous actor’s name once and for all.

Developed by the bank’s creative agency, Zulu Alpha Kilo, the initial idea behind Unmask the Scam became very real for HomeEquity Bank’s Senior Vice President, Customer Experience and Chief Marketing Officer, Vivianne Gauci, a few weeks later.

“I was targeted by a romance scammer pretending to be a Canadian A-list celebrity. I knew the signs so I didn’t fall for the scam, but I still can’t get over how real it looked,” said Gauci. “Understanding that retired Canadians feel more vulnerable to scams, I knew HomeEquity Bank had a responsibility to help fight this new kind of fraud.”

HomeEquity Bank’s mission is to help Canadians retire on their terms in the home they love. If homeowners 55+ are the target of a scam, those retirement dreams can turn into nightmares. With some 34 per cent of homeowners 55 and up in B.C. and Ontario being single, according to research company YouGov, this cohort is an ideal target for romance scams.

“While our deepfake actor is only using the technology for educational purposes, not every user of deepfake technology is,” said Gauci. “If you think you’ve been targeted in a scam, please contact the police and the CAFC. I understand it can be embarrassing to talk about but taking action helps you take back your power.”

The video production process exemplified just how easy it is for anyone to transform themselves with deepfake technology. The deepfake impersonator recorded the videos virtually from his home, and didn’t need any special cameras or devices to create the effect.

Unmask the Scam is a follow-up to HomeEquity Bank’s 2020 award-winning video series called Catch the Scam which focused on four scams that were prevalent during the pandemic and remain common today: the Grandparent scam, the CRA scam, the Lottery scam and, of course, the Romance scam.

Visit www.chip.ca/unmask-the-scam to watch the full video series and learn more.

About HomeEquity Bank

HomeEquity Bank is a Schedule 1 Canadian Bank offering a range of reverse mortgage solutions including the flagship CHIP Reverse Mortgage™ product. The company was founded more than 35 years ago to address the financial needs of Canadians who wanted to access the equity of their top asset – their home. The Bank is committed to empowering Canadians aged 55 plus to live the retirement they deserve, in the home they love. HomeEquity Bank is a portfolio company of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, a global investor that delivers retirement income for 333,000 current and retired teachers in Ontario. For more information, visit www.chip.ca.

HomeEquity Bank (CNW Group/HomeEquity Bank)

SOURCE HomeEquity Bank



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