April 1, 2024

April Fools’ Day: 9 Tech Tales Of Fakes, Fraud, And Finesse

April Fools’ Day is known for its jokes, but in the tech world, it can be challenging to tell what’s real and what’s not, even on regular days.

A lot is happening in tech, from ingenious deceits to blatant scams.

We’ve got stories about everything from a Black tech pro who made up a fake assistant to earn more respect to the wrong use of AI in politics and huge money tricks in the crypto world. 

Here are 9 POCIT stories to check out this April Fools’ Day.

1. The Black woman who created a fake PA named “Matt”

Jamira Burley, a Strategic Initiatives Lead at Apple, crafted a fictional personal assistant named Matt to overcome workplace challenges after noticing people took her more seriously.

Initially emerging from a mistaken email identity, Matt became Burley’s way of navigating corporate interactions with more confidence and authority. This strategy played a major role in Burley’s successful career.

2. The Trump AI Fakes

During the 2024 US presidential election campaign, Trump supporters used AI to create fake images of Black voters endorsing Trump. 

Although the visuals lacked direct links to the campaign, they were still influential in the narrative building. This scenario came amid current concerns and challenges of AI in political disinformation.

3. New Frank Ocean Tracks? Not quite.

A Discord user, under the pseudonym “mourningassasin,” tricked Frank Ocean fans into buying what were believed to be leaked tracks of the artist. 

However, these tracks turned out to be AI-generated fakes, making the perpetrator around $9,600.

4. Wells Fargo’s Alleged Fake Interviews

Wells Fargo came under scrutiny for conducting sham job interviews with minority candidates. 

This practice, used to demonstrate diversity efforts, led to a federal investigation, spotlighting the superficial diversity initiatives in corporate America​​.

Since then, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against the company.

5. The Anti-Abortion Hacker

A Black TikTok coder, Sean Black, gained attention for creating a script that bombarded the Texas Right to Life’s whistleblower site with fake tips. 

The script uploaded 300 entries before the site blocked his IP address.

Social media users loved it, and some encouraged Twitter users to get on board and make “good trouble.”

6. Artists vs. AI deepfakes

Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, and 21 Savage backed the No Artificial Intelligence Fake Replicas And Unauthorized Duplications (No AI FRAUD) Act. 

This legislation aims to protect individuals’ rights against AI-generated voice clones and deepfakes amid growing concerns about AI’s ethical implications​​.

7. The Woman Who Stole $9M from Amazon

Kayricka Wortham, a former Amazon manager, orchestrated a fraud scheme that led to over $9 million in theft from Amazon.  This incident involving fake vendors and invoices led to her 16-year prison sentence.

8. Did Jay-Z fineese Jack Dorsey?

The acquisition of Tidal by Jack Dorsey’s Block Inc. raised eyebrows, with allegations that Dorsey was merely doing a favor for friend Jay-Z. 

While this $306 million deal was later upheld in court, it stirred discussions about the rationale and implications of such high-profile business transactions in the tech world​​.

9. One of the Biggest-ever Bitcoin Heists

The Africrypt saga, led by brothers Raees and Ameer Cajee, became one of the largest cryptocurrency thefts. 

The brothers vanished with $3.6 billion in Bitcoin, leaving investors and regulators grappling with the realities of cryptocurrency vulnerabilities and the need for more robust regulatory frameworks​​.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.