FBI Warns That Scammers Are Using Deepfakes in Tech Job Interviews

People are using deepfakes to apply for remote jobs in the tech industry, according to the FBI.

David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, telecom industry, mobile semiconductors, mobile gaming
David Lumb
2 min read
Four people in business attire sit in a row, framed from the shoulders down, with one holding a suspicious white mask.
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Companies might have a harder time vetting candidates now that deepfakes are getting involved. The FBI warns that employers have interviewed people who've used the face-altering technology to simulate someone else, and are also passing along stolen personal info as their own.

The people using deepfakes -- a technology that taps artificial intelligence to make it look like a person is doing or saying things they actually aren't -- were interviewing for remote or work-from-home jobs in information technology, programming, databases and other software-related roles, according to the FBI's public service announcement. Employers noticed some telltale signs of digital trickery when lip movements and facial actions didn't match up with the audio of the person being interviewed, especially when they coughed or sneezed. 

The deepfaking interviewees also tried to pass along personally identifiable information stolen from someone else in order to pass background checks. 

This is the latest use of deepfakes, which entered the mainstream in 2019 with the worrying potential to convincingly fake other people's faces and voices and place victims into embarrassing situations like pornography, or cause political upheaval. Hobbyists have used deepfakes for more benign stunts since then, like cleaning up de-aging in Disney Plus' The Mandalorian or swapping out an ultra-serious Caped Crusader for a more jovial one in scenes for The Batman

But the threat of using deepfakes for political ends remains, as when Facebook removed a faked video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy back in March. The EU just strengthened its disinformation rules to crack down on deepfakes, but their use in situations as mundane as job interviews shows how easy the deception tech is to get your hands on and use.