Distrusting Your Eyes: A Guide to Spotting Fake Videos

Distrusting Your Eyes: A Guide to Spotting Fake Videos

In a world where ‘seeing is no longer believing,’ a new menace has emerged: online money scams propelled by fake (deepfake, manipulated, edited) videos. These deceptive videos frequently promote various investment schemes promising lucrative returns or feature counterfeit celebrity endorsements.

Two illustrative examples of such videos can be found here:

  1. Video Link 1: This video showcases Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, endorsing an “investment project” by an individual named Sona Aggarwal.
  2. Video Link 2: The second video portrays Sadhguru, founder of the Isha Foundation, and actor Aishwarya Rai praising an individual named Suraj Sharma and his “investment project.”

Upon careful investigation, both of these videos were revealed to be fraudulent and manipulated. Franko Williams, the Public Relations Officer of Reliance Industries, confirmed that Mukesh Ambani’s voice had been manipulated and disavowed any endorsement of an individual or investment scheme. Even the official Facebook page of the Isha Foundation clarified that these videos were fabricated by scammers.

With the proliferation of artificial intelligence and deepfake technology for creating manipulated videos, here are some crucial tips for identifying such deceptive content:

  1. Check the Voice: AI-generated voices often sound artificial and mechanized. When the video features ‘celebrities,’ compare their voices with those in their authentic videos available on social media and video platforms.
  2. Analyze Facial Movements: Scrutinize the subjects’ facial expressions in the video. Manipulated videos frequently exhibit unnatural facial movements, along with lip-sync issues. Pay close attention to inconsistencies in facial expressions.
  3. Verify the Source: Always scrutinize the source of these videos. Typically, these videos are sponsored and appear as advertisements. Be cautious about videos shared on social media by unknown individuals or those hosted on unfamiliar websites. Conduct thorough research about the person or entity being endorsed in the videos.
  4. Question the Content: Always evaluate whether the content appears too good to be true. Investment schemes promising astronomical returns with minimal investments are often fraudulent. Be skeptical of such extravagant claims.
  5. Perform a Google Search: Upon encountering a video and considering an investment in the promoted scheme, conduct a simple Google search about the individual or scheme featured in the video. Sometimes, you may discover additional details about the scam or find copies of complaints filed against these entities.
  6. Trust Your Instincts, Report: If something about the video raises doubts or feels suspicious, trust your instincts. It’s always better to exercise caution. Reporting suspicious content can help prevent others from falling victim to scams.

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In an era where digital deception is on the rise, staying vigilant and informed is essential to protect oneself and others from fraudulent schemes.

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