Scammers have been impersonating Keanu Reeves online—in these ads, deepfake Keanu fights back

Zulu Alpha Kilo’s series for HomeEquity Bank warns of three separate scams, including one where Reeves declares his love for you

Published On
Mar 23, 2023
Deepfake Keanu Reeves holding up a fork and grimacing at it

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Keanu Reeves is many things, but online scammer is not one of them.

Last year, romance scammers—often impersonating real celebrities, including Reeves—were responsible for the second highest amount of fraud-related dollar loss in Canada. In time for Fraud Prevention Month, HomeEquity Bank (HEB) in Toronto leans into this with a series of informative anti-scam videos, depicting a deepfake version of the Canadian actor.

In three episodes, the digitally simulated actor reviews three types of scams: the Keanu Romance Scam, the Real Estate Scam, and the Tech Support Scam.


"I was targeted by a romance scammer pretending to be an A-list celebrity. I knew the signs so I didn’t fall for the scam, but I still can’t get over how real it looked," said Vivianne Gauci, HEB CMO and SVP of customer experience. “Understanding that retired Canadians feel more vulnerable to scams, I knew HomeEquity Bank had a responsibility to help fight this new kind of fraud.”

HEB’s agency of record, Zulu Alpha Kilo, developed the campaign as a follow-up to “Catch the Scam,” an online anti-fraud series for HEB in 2020. The campaign won gold in Ad Age’s 2021 Small Agency Awards for Digital Campaign of the Year.


Production company Zulubot produced the series, which is running on YouTube and on a special HEB website.

“Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and brazen by the day, so it's critical to combat their scam operations through education,” said Brian Murray, chief creative officer at Zulu Alpha Kilo. “Blurring the lines between what’s real and what’s not allowed us to turn that education into entertainment and, ultimately, beat scammers at their own game.”