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Scammers use Deepfake Tech to use Donnie Yen's Image for Promoting Fraudulent Crypto Platform

Stay alert! Movie star Donnie Yen’s name misused in fake post article advocating online trading tools
Donnie Yen speaks onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. Image Source: Getty Images|Photo by Kevin Winter
Donnie Yen speaks onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. Image Source: Getty Images|Photo by Kevin Winter

If coming up with creative ploys to scam people wasn't enough, fraudsters have also started using tech to impersonate celebrities who can be used to add credibility and lure victims. From hacking social media profiles to using AI-generated deepfake videos, scammers are using every tool to replicate famous actors and entrepreneurs. These images are being used to create posts or videos about cryptocurrency investments featuring the stars, which sometimes have the QR code to download the app and once the user clicks on it, they are trapped. Weeks after Tom Holland's X account got hacked by scammers who used it to promote cryptocurrency trading platforms, "Ip Man" and "Jhon Wick" star Donnie Yen has been targeted for a similar tactic.

Image Source: Unsplash|Photo by  Sebastiaan Stam
Image Source: Unsplash|Photo by Sebastiaan Stam

With this tactic, scammers are using the popular actor and director's face to trick people. The crypto scams that celebrity images are used to promote are aimed at making people think that with an initial investment they can make big profits. Yen's popularity in Hong Kong was exploited for sending deepfake messages using the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) were sent to trick people. Post this incident, Arthur Yuen, the deputy CEO of the HKMA, stepped in to educate people about the dangers and precautions of such scams. Last year, Hong Kong alone witnessed a rise in such scams by 40% which involved more than $1.2 billion in total.

Scammers displayed their audacity when they targeted Hollywood actor Donnie Yen who hails from the city, and created a fake article featuring the global star to promote two online trading tools. Yen, known for his exceptional acting, martial art skills, film direction, and production, has also been a world wushu tournament champion. He appeared in many films including Mulan, Monkey King, Ip Man, Kung Fu Killer, John Wick, and many others.

They made the article look similar to that of the South China Morning Post and inserted excerpts from his actual interview on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. The screenshots of March 2023 were included when Yen appeared on the show to promote John Wick: Chapter 4. The other screenshots include a fake post stating that Elon Musk has started an investment scheme just for people in Hong Kong.

The whole scheme was formulated in such a way that even the article came across as one written by writers of the reputed news organization. Later, the post mentions that it has support from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Hang Seng Bank for the fake trading platform. In case, any user gets convinced and clicks on any links in the fake article, they take the user to the fraudulent website and urge them to sign up for their investment plans. They used pictures, screenshots and excerpts in order to make the platform look like an authentic site promoted by the Hollywood martial arts star himself.