Deepfake videos of Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez used in elaborate Le Creuset online scam

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Jan 16, 2024 at 12:18 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

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Le Creuset, the famous French-Belgian maker of cookware, has a new brand ambassador—or does it? Unknowing customers have been duped by AI-generated advertisements that used Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez’s likenesses to peddle supposed “free” Le Creuset sets.

Anyone familiar with the kitchenware brand knows that it isn’t particularly ‘cheap’ or ‘affordable’. So, it’s unsurprising that a number of victims fell for this almost ‘too good to be true’ scam. According to Mashable, the AI-generated videos—that ran predominantly on Meta and TikTok—used Swift’s appearance and voice to express that she was “thrilled” to give away free Le Creuset sets.

@thechainsawdotcom

Taylor Swift fans have been duped by an AI-generated deepfake of the singer endorsing popular cookware brand, Le Creuset. #taylorswift #taylorsversion #swifttok #ai #aiagenerated #lecreuset #cookware

♬ original sound - The Chainsaw

Weirdly enough, Swift has mentioned that she was a fan of the company in the past, so potentially fans didn’t think to question the endorsement or partnership.

@honeypoopoochild

had to be done #lecreuset #taylorswift #folklore #fearless #lover #fyp

♬ Ranking Taylor Swift Albums UPDATE - JE SUIS CALME!

Moreover, there were also fake ads of Gomez which depicted the singer and actor promising free cookware due to a warehouse error.

According to cybersecurity site MalwareTips, the Le Creuset hoax has in actuality been incredibly extensive and elaborate, operating across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, as well as other social platforms using deepfake videos and sponsored posts. As the site notes: “The ads feature realistic-looking videos of various celebrities announcing they have excess Le Creuset inventory so they’re giving it away for free to fans.”

Other celebrities supposedly exploited in the hoax have been Jennifer Lopez and Martha Stewart. While the ads convinced users that all that was needed was a simple and small shipping fee of approximately $9 to receive the free kitchenware set, in reality, the scammers’ prime goal was to gain access to personal information so that they could then force customers into a monthly $89.95 subscription in addition to the shipping fee.

Deepfake videos are not only commonplace these days, they’re also incredibly effective and convincing. Almost anyone can now take a celebrity’s likeness and turn it into a deepfake video or image that then pushes a particular media narrative into the public.

In October 2023, a viral video of Bella Hadid gained traction on X. The clip, which showed the model publicly showing her support for Israel, received over 30 million views and seemingly showed Hadid state that she “stands with Israel against terror.” While it was soon established that the video was fake, its impact was instantaneous and reflective of the power these deepfakes hold.

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