Leave a Message

Thank you for your message. We will be in touch with you shortly.

Beware: Deepfakes Used to Fool Buyers, Sellers

Beware: Deepfakes Used to Fool Buyers, Sellers

Scammers are using AI to impersonate the written and voice communications of real estate professionals to infiltrate transactions and scam clients.

In the fast-paced world of real estate transactions, the emergence of deepfake technology poses a significant threat. Scammers are leveraging artificial intelligence to manipulate audio and video content, impersonating real estate professionals to infiltrate transactions and deceive clients. Recent incidents, such as the one in Hong Kong where a financier fell victim to a $25 million scam, serve as stark reminders of the dangers posed by deepfake technology.

The incident in Hong Kong involved the sophisticated use of deepfake audio and video during a live video conferencing session. The scammers impersonated the financier's company's chief financial officer and other staff members convincingly, leading the victim to transfer a substantial sum of money before realizing the deception. This case underscores the alarming reality that deepfakes have become the new frontier for fraudsters in the real estate industry.

According to CertifID's "2024 State of Wire Fraud" report, the integration of AI into fraudulent activities complicates the detection of fraudulent communications. Tyler Adams, CEO of CertifID, notes that distinguishing between genuine and fraudulent communications has become increasingly challenging. Previously reliable indicators, such as misspellings in email addresses, are no longer effective as scammers employ sophisticated tactics to create convincing communications.

To combat this growing threat, real estate professionals must prioritize raising awareness among their clients. Adams emphasizes the importance of educating clients about the possibility of fraud at every stage of a transaction. Vigilance and verification of information are paramount to mitigating the risks associated with deepfake technology.

Cara Carlin, director of communications for the Better Business Bureau in Arkansas, highlights the evolving nature of threats posed by AI in real estate. AI-generated listings, simulated conversations, and voice impersonations are among the tactics employed by scammers to deceive unsuspecting individuals. Carlin emphasizes the importance of recognizing subtle red flags, such as reluctance to meet in person, as potential indicators of fraudulent activity.

The implications of deepfake technology extend beyond financial scams. Real estate agents may unwittingly list nonexistent properties or enter into virtual contracts based on falsified information. Tracey Hawkins, a real estate safety expert, emphasizes the importance of implementing stringent security measures to protect clients' identities and transactions from such risks.

In an era dominated by digital communication, face-to-face interaction remains invaluable. Security experts advocate for verifying sensitive information through trusted channels and utilizing secure communication platforms to safeguard against potential breaches.

As the real estate industry grapples with the evolving threat landscape, proactive measures are essential to safeguarding the integrity of transactions and protecting clients from falling victim to deepfake scams.

© 2024 National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

In conclusion, the proliferation of deepfake technology underscores the need for heightened vigilance and robust security protocols within the real estate industry. By raising awareness, adopting secure communication practices, and prioritizing face-to-face interactions, real estate professionals can mitigate the risks posed by deepfake scams and safeguard the interests of their clients.

Let's Talk

You’ve got questions and we can’t wait to answer them.