#onlinedating | Romance Scammer Used Deepfakes to Impersonate a Navy Admiral and Bilk Widow Out of Nearly $300,000 | #bumble | #tinder | #pof


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A California widow was scammed out of at least $287,000 by an unidentified overseas con man who romanced her online using “deepfake” video to pose as the superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, according to federal prosecutors.

Deepfakes, which are created using artificial intelligence to make it appear as if someone is doing or saying something they aren’t, have been called a threat to national security. Researchers have long feared the technology could potentially distort democracy, making it impossible for people to distinguish between fact and fiction. But this is the first time they have seen a deepfake used specifically to perpetuate a romance scam, said one expert.

In the fall of 2019, about six months after her husband died, a Santa Monica woman identified in court records only as “M.M.” joined an online dating site. She soon met a purported U.S. Navy admiral named Sean Buck, who said he was stationed on an aircraft carrier in the Middle East. They developed a relationship over the next few months via email and video chats on Skype, during which Buck—who for some reason also went by “Scott”—was always dressed in his military uniform.



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