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Kaspersky uncovers investment scams using hundreds of fraudulent apps and fake endorsement videos

Kaspersky has discovered a widespread series of investment scams targeting both Android and iOS users. The investigation revealed over 300 fraudulent applications, as well as hundreds of fake endorsement videos featuring deepfakes of prominent figures.

The fraudulent apps were designed to lure unsuspecting users with natural gas investments and purported quantum investment algorithms. The applications have been distributed through various Android app stores, including GetApps on Xiaomi devices and Palm Store on Tecno devices. Some of the apps even made it to the recommended list in one app store, falsely implying endorsement and misleading users into installing them. The investigation extended to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, where Kaspersky identified several applications with the term "Oil Profit" in their names. These applications have been reported to the platforms and consequently deleted from the app stores.

Separately, Kaspersky identified a substantial number of deepfake videos promoting various fraudulent investment platforms. These videos feature deepfakes of well-known figures, including politicians, actors and business leaders, endorsing the schemes. The videos are meticulously crafted, incorporating genuine footage of official events and public appearances, lending an air of authenticity to the scams.

One video, targeting a Russian-speaking audience, promotes an investment platform named "Tesla X," claiming that it is a side project by Elon Musk to develop self-driving car technology. Another video, in Turkish, features a faked Recep Tayyip Erdogan endorsing an investment platform that supposedly allows users to earn substantial profits by investing a mere 5,000 Turkish lira (about $17.00) in shares of BOTAŞ, the Turkish state-owned oil and gas pipeline company.

Similar videos were identified in Spanish, where alleged Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim recommends investing in oil through the "Oil Profit" platform.

Kaspersky's investigation found hundreds of similar videos tailored for different countries and regions, exploiting local familiarity to maximize the impact of the scams. These fraudulent endorsements target citizens with promises of guaranteed returns, exploiting names ranging from Moldova's Moldindconbank to Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas, Romania's Romgaz, and even global giants like Samsung.

"While scams themselves are not a new challenge, the use of deepfake videos involving global leaders, the spread of fake news reports in different languages, and a widespread advertising push present a notable shift in deceptive strategies," said Dmitry Kalinin, cybersecurity expert at Kaspersky. "Although we've encountered such scams in the past, the incorporation of deepfakes featuring well-known figures, multilingual fake news reports, and an extensive promotional campaign is a unique and concerning development."

More information on these investment scams is available on Kaspersky Daily.

Published Monday, December 18, 2023 9:01 AM by David Marshall
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