Video uses fake Jorge Ramos audio to sell debt relief scam | Fact check

The claim: Jorge Ramos announced debt elimination program for Hispanics

[En Español: Vídeo falsifica voz de Jorge Ramos para vender perdón de deudas fraudulento]

A June 4 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) shows what appears to be Univision anchor Jorge Ramos informing viewers about a new debt relief program.

“Debt is at an all-time high,” the voiceover says in Spanish. “The Federal Bank is eliminating the credit card debt of all Hispanic-Americans until tonight June 5. They are doing it to avoid another recession now that inflation is at a historic high. It's better to apply while they still offer this to the public. Simply click apply now to receive yours today.”

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Our rating: False

There is no such program and no evidence that the video of Ramos is authentic. The audio track in this video doesn't match Ramos' lip movements, an indication it was digitally created. The post leads social media users to a website where they are eventually directed to apply for a loan, not a debt elimination program.

No evidence program exists

While the video tells Facebook users to click an “Apply Now” button, the post only has a “Learn more" button. That button leads to a website with testimonials from people who were supposedly able to eliminate thousands of dollars in debt through the program.

The website is almost entirely in Spanish, but an English-language disclaimer at the bottom includes a note that "The story depicted here is for demonstration purposes only and everyone's results may vary.”

The website linked from the Facebook video tells users they can see if they qualify by answering some questions. But even if someone clicks that they live in the U.S. and have at least $12,500 in debt – the supposed criteria for the debt elimination program – they are told they do not qualify, but an “instant loan” has been reserved for them.

There are no credible news reports about such a debt relief program for Hispanics.

The video claims the program was announced by “Banco Federal,” but it isn’t clear what institution that is supposed to refer to. A bank of that name was seized and shuttered by Venezuelan regulators in 2010 during that country’s banking crisis, according to Bloomberg. If it was supposed to refer to the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the U.S., debt-relief programs do not fall under the institution’s mission, according to its website.

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USA TODAY could not determine if the brief close-up image of Ramos in the video with the words “breaking news” came from an actual broadcast, but there are no credible news reports about the anchor making any announcement about a debt relief program for Hispanics. Ramos has previously said he does not endorse products, expressing frustration with videos using altered images and fabricated audio of him to sell items ranging from CBD gummies to cryptocurrencies.

“Throughout my career as a journalist I have carefully avoided making commercials," Ramos wrote on his website in 2023. "But nevertheless, with artificial intelligence, it will soon be nearly impossible to know what is true and what is false."

Indeed, the video has hallmarks of AI involved, as Ramos' voice does not match his lip movement during the time his face is briefly shown.

TelevisaUnivision, the parent company of Univision, declined to comment on the record about the authenticity of the clip. But in 2023, the Facebook account for its public affairs program, "Al Punto with Jorge Ramos," posted a video warning its audience about videos that used a digitally fabricated version of Ramos' voice to promote debt relief scams.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the claim for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Video hyping debt elimination pushes loan program instead | Fact check