Don’t Be Fooled By Fake Video Calls – How To Spot FaceTime Tricks

Vector flat style illustration of person at desk using computer for video call

Even video calls can be faked with modern technology (Credits: Getty Images)

It’s not always easy to spot an online scam, even if they’re staring you straight in the face.

Outing a catfish or uncovering a cheater can usually be handled by requesting a video call.

It’s much easier to trick someone through text or voice calls than through video calling software like FaceTime or Zoom.

Unfortunately, nothing is fully proven. You need to be aware of how a video call can be spoofed when establishing a relationship with a person online.

Basically, faking a video call involves using a program or app to change what your webcam is showing during the call.

Most commonly, this can consist of taking a video and playing that instead of your actual face. For example, anyone sitting in a meeting where they don’t need to speak could simply repeat a video of them on their screen while they’re actually doing something else.

For example, an app called ManyCam allows users to configure the webcam input for their video calling app of choice. So it’s possible to replace your FaceTime or Zoom camera with a video from YouTube or something else pre-recorded.

It becomes more difficult when the goal is to have a live conversation with another person.

That’s where you start to enter the realm of deepfakes, where another person’s likeness and voice are used to try to fool the person on the other side of the call.

Since deepfakes require a lot of computing power, they are often only used by very serious tricksters. But there are some common flaws to watch out for:

  • video quality: Unlike a modern webcam meeting, the video quality of a deepfake can be poor due to the amount of data transferred. If it appears grainy or the video stutters badly, it could be a giveaway.
  • Cuts and jumps: If the deepfake is struggling to keep up, the person may jump or freeze momentarily.
  • video size: Anyone faking you via video call may need to resize the chat window to fit the software they are using. If the distortions don’t look right to you, it might be time to get suspicious.
  • contact details: Does the contact name of the person calling you match the details you have on file for them? Your phone should retrieve that from your phone. So if the details on the screen aren’t right – perhaps a misspelled name – it’s something to pay attention to.
  • Mismatched sync: Check the video and audio parts of the call log properly. If you can see their lips moving but you don’t hear anything a few seconds later, that could be a sign that they’re addressing what’s going on.

Of course, there are also many apps that let you apply filters to change things about yourself. It may not be a full deepfake, but it can allow a person to change things like their skin color or eye color to convince you they’re someone else.

If you’re worried about fake video calls, check out this week’s episode of Smut Drop where we talk to Catfish UK presenter Nella Rose about all this shadyness.

MORE : Spice Girls legends Emma Bunton and Mel B plan to wreak havoc on The Circle USA – by catfishing as a man named Jared

MORE: I only realized I was catfished when I flew to Singapore and my girlfriend wasn’t there Don't Be Fooled By Fake Video Calls - How To Spot FaceTime Tricks

Justin Scacco

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