BAM Key Details:

  • HomeEquity Bank just released a new educational video series on deepfake scams in response to a 40% year-over-year increase in fraud and cybercrime reports. 
  • Using readily accessible AI technology, scammers impersonate celebrities like Keanu Reeves in scams targeting Canadians 55+

With better technology, comes new scams. And real estate deepfake scams are the latest to watch out for. 

At no other point in history has it been easier to be a scam artist or to be victimized by one. No matter how educated or tech-savvy you may be, anyone can be scammed. Even me.

Frank W. Abagnale

Security Expert and World-Renowned Former Fraudster

A Rise in Deepfake Scams

There’s been a 40% increase in fraud and cybercrime reports compared to last year, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), with a total C$530M in victim losses in 2022. 

This is why HomeEquity Bank just released a new educational video series, Unmask the Scam, on deepfake scams to warn the public. 

As the provider of the CHIP Reverse Mortgage, HomeEquity Bank used readily accessible AI technology to create deepfake videos featuring a deepfake Keanu Reeves, who’s been “involved” in a series of romance scams targeting Canadians 55 and older. 

The series, Unmask the Scam, exposes three different types of deepfake scams targeting older Canadians, including The Keanu Reeves Romance Scam and The Tech Support Scam

Of course, the one we’re focusing on is The Real Estate Scam:

Real Estate Deepfakes

Real estate deepfake scammers have been impersonating homeowners to sell their properties right under their noses—while scamming potential buyers out of their money. 

You may have heard of stories involving buyers who showed up at the door of the home they thought they’d purchased. But unlike vacant land scams, they show up to find the real homeowner still living there. One thing these scams have in common is neither the buyer nor the property owner has any knowledge of the fake transaction.

HomeEquity Bank’s stated mission is to “help Canadians retire on their terms in the home they love.” But the number of homeowners being targeted by these scams has grown significantly. 

Older Canadians looking to purchase a smaller home in a walkable neighborhood are ideal targets for real estate scams. And the technology we now have makes it easier than ever for scammers to con their targets and get away with it. 

Deepfake scammers start by collecting information about a particular homeowner they’ve chosen as their target, sometimes by taking their mail or looking through their garbage for personal information required for any real estate transaction. Once an identity has been stolen, scammers use today’s technology to create hyper-realistic videos to impersonate homeowners and go through with the sale of someone else’s home. 

Key takeaways from the video encourage homeowners to shred important documents before tossing them and take extra precautions when leaving home unoccupied. 

Top takeaways for real estate agents

While not all these deepfake scams relate to real estate transactions, they highlight the technology and tactics used to target homeowners and other consumers, especially the most vulnerable. Be on the lookout for any homeowner who is unwilling to meet in person or show their property, and share this information with your clients and community to make them aware of the scams. 

Consumers who know these specific scams exist are less likely to fall prey to them. They’re more likely to ask questions or to listen to that little voice that says, “Something is off, here.” 

As an advocate for (potential) homeowners in your area, be aware of the threats facing them and do what you can to arm them with the knowledge and encouragement they need.