Scammers used AI-generated faces to pose as a Boston law firm

Nicole Palmer is a law firm who graduated from Columbia College. Her profile states that she “specializes in the software and security of industrial design” and has “been making her job efficiently for 30 yrs.”

The only dilemma is that she does not exist. And she served me uncover an on-line fraud operation involved in shady pursuits, including extorting inbound links from bloggers and internet site proprietors.

I’ve spent a excellent aspect of the previous week investigating Arthur Davidson, the so-termed “law firm” Nicole is effective for. What I uncovered was unsettling, a testomony to how improvements in technological know-how have produced it uncomplicated for scammers to set up genuine-seeking outfits to prey on their victims.

With any luck ,, my findings will aid other folks develop into extra aware and safeguard on their own towards similar ripoffs.

DMCA copyright infringement

On April 13, Nicole emailed me a “DMCA Copyright Infringement See,” presenting herself as a “Trademark Legal professional of Arthur Davidson Authorized Services” and boasting that an impression I had used in TechTalks belonged to one of her shoppers.

“Our customer, is pleased for their impression to be applied and shared across the online. Having said that, proper picture credit history is because of for earlier or ongoing usage,” she wrote.

I had 7 days to insert the impression credit rating to the “offending page” with a url to the homepage of her client’s internet site, she added. “Otherwise, we are needed to just take legal action.”

Scammers used AI-generated faces to pose as a Boston law firm

(I intentionally blacked out the client’s title and website earlier mentioned for factors I will reveal shortly.)

The email finished with references to Portion 512(c) of DMCA and a qualified signature. It looked legit. The one particular thing that seemed a bit off was a connection to Imgur, an image-sharing web site wherever any individual can upload illustrations or photos with out even setting up a profile. (So it was flawlessly feasible that they had downloaded the impression from my site, uploaded it on Imgur, and then claimed that their image was there right before mine.)


I ordinarily maintain monitor of the resources of the pictures I use on my web-site and attempt to make positive that I do not use anyone’s mental property with no authorization. But issues do materialize, and I was additional than pleased to double-look at my source and offer attribution to the client if I experienced wronged them.

As I had guessed, the impression came from Pexels, an on the internet, license-totally free inventory photograph library. I emailed Nicole again with a website link to the impression and the Artistic Commons license that states that no attribution is expected. I asked for clarification on why she considered the picture belonged to her customer.

And then I waited.

A decent website with little depth

Not possessing heard nearly anything, I circled again the upcoming working day, asking whether she was dropping the scenario. At this point, I was commencing to suspect that this was a bullying tactic to force me to insert a backlink to her client’s internet site.

One of the approaches to make improvements to your site’s position in research engine final result webpages is to have superior-authority web-sites connection back to your internet webpages. I have had past encounters with providers or men and women who experienced attempted to sneak one-way links into my internet site. But accomplishing so with a authorized facade was new to me.

I decided to take a closer appear at the website of Arthur Davidson Legal Expert services. Definitely, whoever had set up the web page experienced accomplished a superior task. Very first, the domain identify ( was very well-picked, suggesting that the web site and the company have existed for a very long time, maybe due to the fact the early dot-com times.

In accordance to the web page, Arthur Davidson has been operating given that 2009, concerned in 420 instances, and reached 380 wins (approx. 90 percent success price).

The site also lists a Boston phone number and an handle at 177 Huntington Ave, a building that homes a number of other legislation companies.


The web site has a blog site with several posts, such as one that conveniently claims copyright infringement can consequence in a $10,000 great.

The about web page displays the profiles of 18 lawyers, graduates of Northeastern, Brown, Princeton, Harvard, and other renowned universities. But contrary to other skilled sites, none of the lawyers lists their LinkedIn profile on the web site.

A parked area

A nearer investigation exposed quite a few far more purple flags. To start with, I appeared up the domain’s report on ICANN’s website (Online Corporation for Assigned Names and Quantities). Evidently, Arthur Davidson had been doing work for 13 years but just resolved to established up their domain in February 2022.


And then I seemed up the website’s document on the Wayback Device ( Evidently, the domain experienced been parked concerning 2005 and 2022.

(To be good, there could be a sensible explanation to this: The law agency could have utilised one more domain name and a short while ago acquired from its former owner.)


And then I Googled the firm’s name and appeared up the information portion. Logically, a organization that properties so several significant-profile attorneys and claims to have gained “multi-million dollar” lawsuits on behalf of its clients ought to have at minimum been talked about in the information a few situations.

No benefits.

GAN faces

Virtually positive that this was a fraud, I took a closer search at the “About Us” web site. The pictures of the attorneys appeared a bit out of put. I opened Nicole’s picture in comprehensive dimension on a separate tab.

What I saw was an picture established by a generative adversarial community, a deep studying design that can be experienced to make faces, art, or something else.


GANs have come a prolonged way given that they were invented in 2014. Today, they deliver larger resolution and far more purely natural illustrations or photos than their previously variations. There is a web site known as This Man or woman Does Not Exist that generates GAN faces. Some of them are eerily convincing.

But GANs even now generate unnatural artifacts that can be very easily detected if you are familiar with the engineering. You can very easily place irregularities in locations this sort of as earrings, shadings on the side of the face, edge of hair and beard, wrinkles, borders of eyebrows, and the sides of eyeglasses.

GAN Faces

With clear evidence that this was without a doubt a fraud operation, I resolved to investigate Arthur Davidson and report my conclusions. I achieved out to the shopper on behalf of whom Nicole experienced contacted me on April 16, inquiring them to make clear their connection with Arthur Davidson. On April 18, a assist agent replied that they had no connection with the law organization.

Soon following, the Arthur Davidson web site was shut down. (You can however see a edition of it on the Wayback Device.)

Even however I suspect that the shopper was in truth in touch with the so-called regulation firm, considering the fact that I have no concrete proof, I resolved to not point out them.

Closing views
My suspicion is that Arthur Davidson was run by a grey hat Search engine marketing crew. For now, they are down. But I’m sure they will crop up underneath a distinctive identify soon. Seeking again, what they did was not very challenging. All they needed was some world-wide-web copy for law firms (easy to receive off the world wide web and reword), a number of template DCMA emails (out there for totally free), a handful of GAN-generated faces (there’s a website for that), some website design and style know-how, and a bit of funds to invest in a cell phone number and a area. And they were being working with a social engineering tactic to trigger a sense of urgency (seven-working day deadline, legal action, etcetera.) in their victims to act without wondering.

I hope these results will help other web page entrepreneurs steer clear of slipping victim to related scams. All the applications I used to examine Arthur Davidson are absolutely free and straightforward to use and you can do it for oneself. Never stress. Do your investigate, and you are going to be good.

A note on anonymity: I have no difficulty with people today seeking to cover their id on the internet. There are dozens of legit explanations to do so—but scamming other people is not one of them.

As to firms that are taking into consideration making use of the expert services of this kind of scammers, my tips is: really do not. The next individual may not be as forgiving as I was. In my possess knowledge, there is no shortcut to attaining authority on the world wide web. Develop good content, create your network, and come across authentic methods to distribute your content material, and people will give you inbound links. Shady shortcuts may possibly stop up carrying out a lot more problems than very good to your web-site and small business.

This posting was initially penned by Ben Dickson and printed by Ben Dickson on TechTalks, a publication that examines trends in technological know-how, how they impact the way we reside and do business enterprise, and the challenges they clear up. But we also explore the evil side of engineering, the darker implications of new tech, and what we need to have to glimpse out for. You can study the first write-up below.