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Asia-Pacific deepfake incidents surge
AI-driven fraud most prominent challenge across industries, crypto main target
The Asset 30 Nov 2023

The Asia-Pacific region has experienced a 1530% surge in deepfake cases from 2022 to 2023 amid a growing trend in sophisticated scams and money laundering cases globally, marking it as the second-highest region, behind North America, experiencing this growing trend, according to a recent report.

There’s been a significant tenfold increase in the number of deepfakes detected globally across all industries from 2022 to 2023, finds the third annual Identity Fraud Report published by full-cycle verification platform Sumsub. There are notable regional differences, namely: 1740% deepfake surge in North America, 1530% in Asia-Pacific, 780% in Europe (including UK), 450% in the Middle East and Africa, and 410% in Latin America.

Other key Asia-Pacific-related findings conclude that:

  • Indonesia, Hong Kong and Cambodia have witnessed a more than two-fold increase in identity fraud percentages from 2021 to 2023.
  • Bangladesh and Pakistan have the highest fraud rates in both Asia-Pacific and the world in 2023, with rates of 5.44% and 4.59% respectively.
  • Singapore stands out for successfully reducing its fraud rate in 2023, maintaining a low level of 0.89%.
  • Japan, Australia and Thailand have maintained their fraud rates at under 2% over 2021-2023.
  • The top-5 identity fraud types in 2023 are artificial intelligence (AI)-powered fraud, money mulling  networks, fake IDs, account takeovers and forced verification.
  • Online media is the industry with the highest identity fraud increase (274%) between 2021 and 2023.

AI, deepfakes

With AI-driven fraud remaining the most prominent challenge across various industries, crypto is the main target sector (representing 88% of all deepfake cases detected in 2023), followed by fintech (8%).

In Asia-Pacific, Vietnam and Japan, the report finds, rank the highest for the prevalence of deepfake fraud. Japan, in particular, had notable widespread use of deepfakes in the entertainment sector, while Vietnam, with its rapidly growing digital economy and online-native population, stands as an appealing target for fraudsters.

To combat the prevalence of AI-powered fraud, countries are proactively introducing measures and regulations aimed at safeguarding businesses and individuals from the harmful impacts of AI, such as the effects of deepfakes. For instance, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority published a circular with enhanced measures to defend e-banking from fraudsters in October 2023 that includes enhanced monitoring for suspicious transactions and additional customer authentication.

“The rise of AI presents a paradox,” says Penny Chai, vice-president of business development for Asia-Pacific at Sumsub. “While it can be wielded for malicious purposes, it also stands as an ally for anti-fraud solution providers.

“The key to ensuring that AI contributes positively to society lies in the establishment of robust regulations and policy guidelines. These measures are crucial for creating an environment conducive to responsible technology use.”

Going forward

AI will be a key focus for regulators in 2024, the report points out. For instance, China is known to have pioneered deepfake regulation, with the Regulations on the Administration of Deep Synthesis of Internet Information Services approved by the Chinese Cyberspace Administration Authority in December 2022 and having come into force in August 2023.

Other trends forecasted in the report include the necessity for more robust regulatory responses, an increased emphasis on non-document verification to offer diverse options for confirming identities, online media implementing stricter rules regarding identification, the mandatory need for local authorities to enhance data security and personal information, and the rise of network analysis as a tool to uncover fraud.

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