Traffickers are said to use AI to defraud undocumented immigrants

A New York legal consulting firm warned the immigrant community about the scams human traffickers are perpetrating using artificial intelligence (AI).

William Murillo, executive chairman of the legal advisory group 1800migrante, told EFE that an Ecuadorian family was extorted for more than $12,000 they sent to Mexico in an attempt to locate a member of their family who had disappeared between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso. Texas), on the way to the US.

“Citizens are warned to avoid being scammed with these videos that appear genuine but are manipulated with the intention of deceiving family members and creating false hopes for the sole purpose of defrauding them,” he stated.

The family contacted the organization, which was founded in Ecuador in 2008 and is also based in New York, when the woman disappeared, prompting 1800migrante to issue an alert bulletin with photos and data in the hope of obtaining information that could be used to investigate the locate woman. .

Shortly afterwards, the ‘coyote’ (as human traffickers are also known) sent the family a video showing the woman ‘literally dying’ on the ground with the message ‘she is no longer with us, she is now in heaven’ .

Messages sent to the family by traffickers automatically disappeared over time.

Since the woman’s body had not been found, her relatives in Ecuador did not give up and shared information on social networks in an attempt to locate her, “and that’s where the nightmare began,” because the traffickers used one of the photos “to get some they did,” said Murillo.

The person in charge explained to EFE that other relatives in New Jersey received messages that the “dying woman” had been “rescued”, that she was on her way to the United States, and asked who would pay the costs of her journey.

The messages gave hope to the family, who asked for proof she was alive, but they did not want photos because they can be altered with technology, he said.

According to Murillo, the traffickers, both the one who sent them the message that she was dying and the second, must have been partners in the extortion, and therefore had access to the family number in the United States.

“They used a photo, they superimposed the image of her, where her eyes are moving and it looks like she’s talking. Then they come up with a video that shows the image of a woman who is different,” Murillo said. who believes the woman who volunteered for the edited video is complicit with the scammers.

After seeing the images, the family members sent the $12,000 to Mexico.

When the day arrived for the Ecuadorian to be handed over to her family, the traffickers never showed up at the agreed point. The $12,000 defrauded is added to the $18,000 agreed for the trip from Ecuador.

“The coyotes used encrypted messages, the videos sent could not be saved because (the program they were using) did not allow it, and once viewed they disappeared,” he indicated.

The official also explained that the group had access to copies of the videos because the relatives were able to record them on another mobile phone.

Murillo also pointed out that the relatives have not filed complaints because they are undocumented and “they don’t want to get involved with the authorities,” he said.

“This is the first case we can identify (using AI), but it will be the first of many,” he said.

Source: El heraldo