Africa, along with half the rest of the world’s population, will have its share of elections in 2024 – and new data is showing an alarming increase in YoY trends in AI-powered scams.

Sumsub – a global full-cycle verification provider – has detected upwards of a 245% YoY increase in deepfakes worldwide with massive growth in deepfakes in certain countries where elections will be taking place – including in South Africa and Algeria.

“Performing millions of identity checks annually and preventing thousands of deepfake attempts across all markets, we believe these trends are not unique to B2B / B2C markets,” says Vyacheslav Zholudev, co-founder and chief technology officer of Sumsub. “They are symptomatic of what’s happening in the wider digital world. These insights don’t just apply to businesses, but are also a key demonstration of the need to continue fighting misinformation, the spread of AI-generated scams, and online fraud threatening society.”

Key African highlights from Sumsub’s Q1 2024 verification and identity fraud data show that:

* There’s noticeable growth of deepfake incidents YoY in countries where elections are planned for 2024: South Africa (500%), the USA (303%), India (280%).

* African deepfakes soared YoY in Q1 2024, with Nigeria (+550%), Egypt (+533%), South Africa (+500%), and Kenya (+300%). In contrast, African countries Algeria (+71%) and Tanzania (0%) appear to be relatively less affected.

* In Q1 2024, the highest count of deepfake incidents in Africa was detected in Egypt.

* Identity fraud rate in the fintech sector grew YoY 245% in South Africa, 74% in Tanzania, 120% in Algeria, and 54% in Nigeria. In crypto the fraud rate increased 54% in South Africa, 157% in Tanzania (reaching a record 8,81% fraud out of all verifications in Q1 2024), 44% in Nigeria, 32% in Kenya, 77% in Egypt and 87% in Algeria. The fraud rate in gambling soared 209% in Algeria.

* The proportion of forced verification among all fraud types increased 11,5x in Kenya, from 0,2% of all fraud to 2,3% of all fraud YoY.

* In Africa in Q1 2024, the most widespread fraud type was identity document forgery (making 43% of all fraud in Egypt, 40% in Kenya, 38% in Algeria and South Africa), followed by selfie mismatch (35% of all fraud in Egypt, 31% in South Africa and 30% in Algeria) and fake documents (26% of all fraud in Tanzania, 18% in Nigeria).

The growth of deepfake incidents can be seen across different industries. Last quarter, the sectors with the most deepfakes were crypto, fintech, and iGaming. A closer look at the YoY comparison shows the quantity of deepfake cases soared 1 520% in iGaming, 900% in marketplaces, 533% in fintech, 217% in crypto, 138% in consulting, and 68% in online media.

“The number and quality of deepfakes is increasing and evolving daily worldwide,” says Hannes Bezuidenhout, Sumsub’s vice-president of Sales for Africa. “Content platforms and common users remain vulnerable to deepfakes especially in light of their growing sophistication, requiring ever-more advanced detection around important issues like 2024 elections globally and here in South Africa. Media platforms must stay vigilant, remaining aware and updating defences to detect deepfakes and prevent AI-generated fraud. They need to make sure they are not inadvertently contributing to the spread of misinformation.”