Singapore’s leader alerts on deepfake crypto scams

In a move to combat digital fraud, Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, has issued a stern warning about the rise of deepfake videos on social media. These AI-generated videos are increasingly being used to falsely endorse cryptocurrency scams.

Prime Minister Lee took to social media on December 29 to raise awareness about the proliferation of deepfake videos. Alarmingly, these videos often feature prominent figures, including himself and Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, falsely promoting a non-existent cryptocurrency investment scheme linked to high-profile individuals like Elon Musk.

The Prime Minister emphasized the fraudulent nature of these videos. He also highlighted the advanced AI technology used to mimic the appearances and voices of government officials. The videos often repurpose footage from official events, weaving together convincing yet entirely fictitious narratives. A 500 percent increase in such deepfake videos in Singapore in 2023 compared to the previous year underlines the urgency of the issue.

Public urged to remain vigilant

Prime Minister Lee urged the public to exercise caution and not be swayed by the deceptive promises of financial gain in these deepfake videos.

“The use of deepfake technology to spread disinformation will continue to grow. We must remain vigilant and learn to protect ourselves and our loved ones against such scams. Thanks to alert Singaporeans who took the time to flag this to me,” Lee said.

The Harvard Kennedy School graduate advised against engaging with content offering guaranteed returns or participating in giveaways. To combat this issue further, he encouraged citizens to report suspicious activities through the government’s ScamShield Bot on WhatsApp, reflecting the collective effort required to tackle this menace.

This development is a testament to the Singaporean government’s commitment to maintaining a secure digital environment. By encouraging the public to report suspicious content, the Prime Minister’s call reinforces Singapore’s ongoing strategies to protect its digital landscape from the threats of deepfake technology and misinformation.

The issue of deepfake technology has been a recurring concern for Prime Minister Lee. He has previously pointed out the challenges in distinguishing between real and AI-generated content, especially during times of heightened media attention.

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