Taylor Swift wants plenty of good things for her fans — but a free Dutch oven isn’t one of them.
A new scam has cropped up on social media, where an AI deepfake of Swift targets her loyal Swifties with the lure of free Le Creuset products. Yet no one winds up with a piece of the singer’s much-beloved cookware. Instead, they end up with a case of identity fraud. This latest scam follows a string of celebrity deepfakes on YouTube and scams also targeting Kelly Clarkson.
The story has made its share of headlines. Unsurprisingly so, given the singer’s high profile. Scammers have cooked up a synthetic version of Swift’s voice, using AI voice cloning technology we’ve highlighted in our blogs before.
With a script for the voice clone and real snippets of video of the star, the scammers (not Swift) encourage fans to jump on the free offer. All it takes is a $9.96 shipping fee. Paid for by credit or debit card. Once in the hands of the scammers, the cards get charged, and sometimes charged repeatedly. In all, it’s a classic case of identity fraud — this time with an AI voice clone twist.
Le Creuset quickly pointed out that no such promotion exists and that any certified Le Creuset promotions get posted on their official social channels. So, to put a fine point on it, Tay-Tay will not send you a Le Creuset.
Swift unfortunately finds herself in plenty of company. As we’ve reported previously, 2023 saw numerous celebrity AI cloning scams that hawked bogus goods, crooked investment scams, and phony cryptocurrency deals. Our 2024 predictions blog called for much more of the same this year, and the Taylor Swift scam has kicked things off in a high-profile way.
If people haven’t heard about AI cloning scams already, there’s a good chance that they do now.
A new McAfee technology can detect the Taylor Swift scam and other AI scams like it.
So, what are we to do about it? How are we to tell what’s real and what’s fake online? Our Project Mockingbird points to the answer.
We just unveiled Project Mockingbird at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, a new technology that helps detect AI-generated audio in deepfakes. Think of it as a lie detector that spots fake news and other schemes.
See for yourself. We ran video of the Taylor Swift cookware scam through our Project Mockingbird technology. You’ll see red lines spike as it detects cloned audio, which shows you to what degree the audio is real or fake, all along a charted timeline.
In addition to spotting celebrity scams, this approach to AI clone detection combats another particularly popular form of deepfake. The AI wrapper scam, where scammers wrap their cloned speech inside an otherwise legitimate video. Check out the example below. Here, scammers used clips of real news presenters to dress up their ChatGPT investment scam video.
Note how the detector registered at the baseline when the news presenters spoke, which indicates authentic audio. Then note how it spiked when the cloned audio kicked in — the part of the video that pitched the ChatGPT investment scam.
Project Mockingbird marks the first public demonstration of our new AI-detection technologies. In addition to AI audio detection, we’re working on technology for image detection, video detection, and text detection as well.
With these capabilities, we’ll put the power of knowing what is real or fake directly into your hands. Another way you can think about it is that McAfee is like having a lie detector in your back pocket. With it, you’ll know what’s real and what’s fake online. Something we’ll all need more and more as AI technologies mature.
Looking ahead, we’ll see more than celebrity scams. We’ll see AI voice clones used to trick family members into sending money as part of phony emergency message scams. We’ll see it used for cyberbullying. And we’ll see bad actors use it to twist political speech across 2024’s major election cycles worldwide.
Through it all, we aim to give you the power of trust — to trust what you see and hear online. To know what’s real and what’s fake out there. Project Mockingbird represents our first public step toward that goal.
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