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Latest romance scam tactic uses two phones with face-swap app | #lovescams | #datingapps | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating


Romance scams are getting a whole lot more convincing with the latest tactic: using two phones, one running a face-swap app, to conduct live video calls with victims …

Romance scams

Romance scams are where a fraudster creates fake dating profiles, establishes communication with a victim, and wins their trust over time before creating a fake emergency for which they say they need a short-term loan.

A typical example will see the scammer claim they have been robbed while abroad, and need cash sent to enable them to settle a hotel bill so they can fly home. They will claim the money will be repaid as soon as they land back in the US, a day or so later.

In most cases, the best a scammer can do to draw victims in is using a mix of text and voice chat, but a new tactic is seeing them now conduct live video calls to make their fake identity seem even more convincing.

Uses two phones with a face-swap app

A paywalled Wired report says the scammers are known as Yahoo Boys. The site got access to videos of the scammers at work which show two different methods. The first involves using two phones.

The scammers use a setup of two phones and a face-swapping app. The scammer holds the phone they are calling their victim with—they’re mostly seen using Zoom, Maimon says, but it can work on any platform—and uses its rear camera to record the screen of a second phone. This second phone has its camera pointing at the scammer’s face and is running a face-swapping app. They often place the two phones on stands to ensure they don’t move and use ring lights to improve conditions for a real-time face-swap, the videos show.

The second runs on a laptop.

Here, the scammer uses a webcam to capture their face and software running on the laptop changes their appearance. Videos of the setup show scammers are able to see their own face alongside the altered deepfake, with just the manipulated image being displayed over the live video call.

If you’re wondering what subterfuge Wired had to employ to obtain video footage of the scams in operation, the astonishing answer is: none at all. The scammers are so brazen they are happy to boast about their cons in Telegram group chats, complete with video footage. In some cases, this is to sell the setups to other scammers.

Rachel Tobac, cofounder of SocialProof security, says the apps have improved dramatically in the past year.

Especially the ones where they’re able to change the pitch of their voice and the look of their face—sometimes changing skin tone, hair, eye color, everything’s matched. It’s pretty wild.

Protecting yourself from romance scams

As always, the advice when using dating apps is to be cautious until you’ve met someone, and anyone asking for money is an immediate giveaway that you’re talking to a scammer – no matter how convincing they may seem.

Additionally, beware social media apps that ask you to upload a face photo to be transformed into something like an older or younger version of you, a Samurai warrior or whatever. These apps are designed to collect data used to train things like face-swap apps.

Image: Fotor

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