Will Green
May 12, 2024

WPP chief exec Mark Read targeted by deepfake scammers

Fraudsters used AI in Microsoft Teams meeting with the 'agency leader'.

Mark Read: The fraud was unsuccessful
Mark Read: The fraud was unsuccessful

WPP chief executive Mark Read was the target of a deepfake scam involving an artificial intelligence voice clone.

Fraudsters set up a WhatsApp account with an image of Read and then used it to set up a Microsoft Teams meeting with another senior WPP executive, according to an email seen by The Guardian.

A voice clone and YouTube footage of the executive were used during the meeting, with an “agency leader”, to ask them to set up a new business, with the aim of soliciting money and personal details.

The scammers impersonated Read in the meeting’s chat window.

Read gave details of the attempted fraud in an email to leadership, with a warning to be vigilant. He said the scam was not successful.

“We all need to be vigilant to the techniques that go beyond emails to take advantage of virtual meetings, AI and deepfakes,” he said.

“We have seen increasing sophistication in the cyber attacks on our colleagues, and those targeted at senior leaders in particular.”

He added: “Just because the account has my photo doesn’t mean it’s me.”

A WPP spokesperson confirmed the incident took place. “Thanks to the vigilance of our people, including the executive concerned, the incident was prevented,” they said.

Campaign UK

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