FBI issues warning about ‘deepfake’ sextortion schemes

Americans should be careful about posting photos or videos of themselves online, the FBI has warned.

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Americans should be careful about posting photos or videos of themselves online, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned. In a recent warning, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center warned that criminals who target victims by collecting images or videos and modifying them produce synthetic content known as deepfakes.

FBI said that victims include minor children and incapacitated adults who have had their images and videos transformed into explicit content without their consent. Malicious actors post altered photos and videos on social media, public forums or pornographic websites. Victims are unaware that the images have been manipulated and distributed until someone else alerts them after posting the material. The photos are then sent to the victims for sextortion or harassment.

The FBI urges the public to be careful when posting or sending personal photos, videos, and identifying information on social media, dating apps, and other online sites, reminding the public that even seemingly innocent images can be exploited for criminal activities. The FBI suggests a free service called Take It Down, offered by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, is available to those affected.