Taylor Swift Deepfake Scam Promised Fans Free Cookware

AI has found a new nefarious purpose: scamming Swifties with free Le Creuset cookware.

Taylor Swift has made the news again, but not for Ticketmaster snafus or her romance with boyfriend Travis Kelce, tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, it's not for anything really related to the pop star at all. The New York Times reports that artificial-intelligence-abusing tricksters have cobbled together video clips of Swift interspersed with footage of Le Creuset Dutch ovens, in order to scam fans by promising free cookware on Facebook and other social media platforms.

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The Taylor Swift Le Creuset scam, explained

This scam, which occurred over the past few weeks, involved the use of now fairly accessible AI technology. Using AI to recreate the singer's voice (an expert told the NYT that it was likely a text-to-speech tool), scammers created a series of false advertisements online in which the fake Swift tells unsuspecting Swifties that she's "thrilled" to hand out free Le Creuset sets, and that anyone interested should simply click through and fill out some questions to receive free fancy cast-iron cookware.

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The unsuspecting users were sent to sites designed to look like reputable sellers and were asked to pay a shipping fee of $9.96 in order to receive their haul. Those who signed up unknowingly received additional monthly charges—and no Le Creuset cookware. The NYT doesn't specify just how many people were taken advantage of, but it does report that Meta eventually removed the ads from its platform, and the company noted that it does take legal action against fraudsters such as these.

Other AI celebrity deepfakes

Swift's likeness wasn't the only one used for the scam. The likeness of interior designer and TV personality Joanna Gaines was similarly used to advertise fake Le Creuset giveaways. Many of you have likely already heard of previous AI-based scams involving a plethora of other celebrities, such as country singers Luke Combs and Lainey Wilson, Kelly Clarkson, and Oprah Winfrey.

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AI recreations of real people have gotten unsettlingly accurate, and corporations are diving into the technology with seemingly reckless abandon. So why wouldn't scammers want in on it, too, considering how profitable celebrity endorsements can be? Where there's a way to make money, fraud is sure to follow. In this case, everyone's love of Taylor Swift and the lure of high-end cookware makes it easier to get consumers to unknowingly open their pockets to scammers.

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