SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took to Facebook on Friday (Dec 29) to warn the public concerning recent deepfake videos of him promoting cryptocurrency scams.

He posted one such video where he appears to be interviewed on CGTN, the English-language news channel of China Global Television Network, based in Beijing. While the video footage is actual, its audio has been digitally altered to sound like PM Lee is talking about “hands-free crypto trading with a track record of success.”

A deepfake is altered content designed to look authentic. They are created through artificial intelligence (AI), called deep learning, to make fake content.

As the Prime Minister wrote, “‘Tis the season for scams!” Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong has also been featured recently in a deepfake scam, where a video showing The Straits Times (ST) logo was shared online with Mr Wong appearing to promote a “guaranteed investment.” ST reported on (Dec 28) that a police report had been filed.

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PM Lee wrote, “The scammers use AI technology to mimic our voices and images. They transform real footage of us taken from official events into very convincing but completely bogus videos of us purporting to say things that we have never said.”

More importantly, he told the public not to respond to scam videos that promise “guaranteed returns on investments or ‘giveaways’” but to report them via the official ScamShield Bot on WhatsApp.

PM Lee added that official videos from the Prime Minister’s Office may be found on the PMO’s YouTube channel and added,

“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,” he added.

He also thanked the “alert Singaporeans” who told him about the recent deepfake video of him.

Earlier this month, DPM Wong also thanked the individuals who alerted him about scam videos, writing, “There are deepfakes of me endorsing commercial products, and misinformation circulating on various networks that the government is looking to reinstate a circuit breaker. These are all falsehoods. Let’s stay vigilant and discerning online!”

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As far back as 2019, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong already expressed concern over deepfake technology. /TISG

Read related: Scam alert: Deepfake ST video of Lawrence Wong promoting ‘guaranteed investment’ spread online