YouTube scam features fake Jennifer Aniston

The latest in celebrity-impersonating scams, a deepfake of Jennifer Aniston promoting a “MacBook giveaway,” is going viral over how convincing it is.

The deepfake of actor Jennifer Aniston promoting a YouTube scam is circulating online, fuelling concern over how quickly such videos are becoming better in quality and more common.

A post on Reddit has been upvoted thousands of times, with hundreds of comments discussing the latest technology-facilitated attempt to fool those gullible enough to believe it.

While many agreed the video had plenty of tell-tale signs of being fake – from bizarre facial expressions to lip movements not entirely matching what was being said – others voiced apprehension at the increasing quality of such scams.

“The scam itself isn’t good at all and still obvious (even if they paid the real Jennifer Aniston to say it, lol), but the technology behind it is getting so good so fast,” the original poster’s message read.

“It says a lot that the video and audio aren’t the most suspicious thing, it’s the poor writing quality/grammar. Absolutely crazy,” it continued.

Others noted that none of the red flags were making the scam less effective. “These exact scams have been around for 20+ years. We keep seeing them because they work. If they didn't work, scammers would do something else,” one user said.

“Most people can spot them a mile away, but the ones that can't are the ones that get caught up in it. They're obviously the targets,” they added.


Commenters also noted that the video was good enough to circumvent a detection algorithm used by YouTube’s parent company, Google, and that the artificial intelligence technology behind it was now widely available to anyone.

“The next decade is going to be interesting,” the top comment on the thread said.

In the video, Jennifer Aniston's likeness promotes an age-old “giveaway” scam. It tells viewers that “if you’re watching this video, you’re one of the 10,000 lucky people who will get a MacBook Pro for just $10.”

The user is then urged to follow a link and claim their device in the "world’s largest MacBook giveaway.”

The likeness of Taylor Swift was also used earlier this month to promote a fake Le Creuset cookware giveaway on Facebook and TikTok, capitalizing on the fact that the singer is an actual fan of the luxury French brand.

In October last year, a similar scam campaign featuring popular YouTuber MrBeast emerged online, while the likeness of actor Tom Hanks was used in a dental plan ad without his consent.

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