AI-Crafted Pashinyan Video as Instrument for Financial Fraud

Tigranuhi Martirosyan

Journalist, SMM specialist

A video made with the use of artificial intelligence appeared on social media. In the video, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discusses an investment platform launch with Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg.

According to the video, anyone can participate in the system and, regardless of age, can earn 100,000 drams per day by registering.

The video is technically well-made – the speech and mouth movements match perfectly. As a result, many people are unaware that it is fake.

If you follow the link and register, you will receive a call from a foreign number. The caller will introduce themselves as a representative from a company called Libra. They will offer you an opportunity to make a financial investment in cryptocurrency. In return, the system will give you interest.

According to IT and media consultant Artur Papyan, it is easy to tell that the video is fake because it is in Russian.

According to Artur Papyan, Artificial Intelligence (AI) does not function in the Armenian language yet, although it may be possible in the future; this is why it was not possible to produce a video in the Armenian language using AI. However, the AI system failed to consider the unique characteristics of Nikol Pashinyan’s speech pattern and instead created it in fluent Russian. This is the primary evidence revealing that the video is fake.

Artur Papyan urges everyone to verify the authenticity of videos as the number of similar content will increase in the future.

“Becoming media literate is crucial nowadays, as we face an increasing number of manipulated videos. To fight back, it’s essential to verify information from multiple sources. For instance, if you come across a video featuring Nikol Pashinyan, where he claims that you can register for a program and receive money, you should check the official website of the government and the prime minister to confirm whether this information is legitimate. It’s important to note that official sources such as the Prime Minister’s Facebook page or Public Television Company would have published information about this program if it really existed. Therefore, if you can’t find any information in official sources, it’s best to remain skeptical and consider it suspicious,” he elaborates.

According to Artur Papyan, the quality of videos produced using AI is improving rapidly, to the point where it may become difficult to differentiate between real and fake videos based on their quality of frame and sound.

Regarding the investment system promoted by scammers, Papyan points out that while there have been instances of individuals earning money, in most cases the platform has frozen accounts and refused to release funds after users invested larger sums of money, resulting in significant financial losses.

He says similar videos are circulating on behalf of Gazprom, to which many have fallen victim.

The expert further explains that while Meta has mechanisms to block the distribution of such videos and flag them, it is not feasible to expect all of them to be removed. This is because the videos are distributed from hundreds of fake pages, making tracking and taking down every instance difficult.

According to Papyan, this is a financial fraud, and the government, the Central Bank, and private banks have something to do with it. Papyan points out that banks can block suspicious transactions, even for small amounts like one dollar. This can be done if the bank sees a transfer to a suspicious account. As per Papyan, banks have a practice of suspending any transaction that appears suspicious to them.

The expert warns that cybercrime can take different forms, such as financial fraud, personal data theft, bullying, and blackmail.

“There are many cases when they photoshop the pictures of school-aged girls on naked bodies, then they blackmail and threaten to show their parents if they don’t fulfill their wish. Currently, such content can be disseminated through videos, too. There are many such cases; there have been criminal cases since 2015, even cases of children committing suicide. So you have to be alert and check any video,” he says.

In the article, you can find information on how to determine whether the video has been edited or created using AI.

Tigranuhi Martirosyan

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