New Phone Scam in Arizona Uses Deep Fake Technology
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has made its way into the news every day lately. It seems as though the dystopian scenarios we watched on shows like Black Mirror and the Twilight Zone are creeping into reality.
Now that dystopian nightmare is being used in yet another scam.
What is AI Voice Synthesis
Artificial Intelligence is moving forward at a blistering pace. AI was recently used to create the fake images that showed Target was selling satanic clothing to children, which lead to a boycott of the store.
Another deep fake is being used by would-be scammers over the phone, with AI speech synthesis or voice cloning. Speech synthesis creates a realistic digital replica of a person's voice, and recently it's been used by scammers to defraud a number of victims who believed they were talking to someone in trouble.
New AI Voice Cloning Scams
Recently AI-generated voices were created to impersonate someone like a loved one or a close acquaintance.
Scammers use the technology in an attempt to convince a victim they're speaking to someone they know. Believing their loved one to be in danger, the target is manipulated into sending money.
For example, Business Insider reports that earlier this year, an Arizona mother received a call from someone she believed to be her teenage daughter.
The teenager was on a trip out of town. During the call, "the daughter" was crying. She told her mother she was in trouble and had been kidnapped. She said the kidnapper needed a million dollars in cash in order to release her.
Based on the circumstances, the mother had no reason to believe she wasn't speaking to her daughter.
The AI deep fake was that convincing. The mother even said the "daughter" used typical phrases she would use, and everything, right down to the inflection, made it seem legitimate.
Fortunately, before things escalated, the mother spoke to the trip's chaperone who confirmed her daughter had not been kidnapped and was in fact safe and sound.
The Web of Scams Continues
Forbes reports that there have been other instances of AI voice cloning. In 2021, there were reports of scammers impersonating company executives.
The "callers" demand money transfers from employees. Sadly, the calls were so convincing, a few employees fell for the scam.
Don't Be a Victim of a Voice Scam!
With the advent of this new technology, we may have to work harder to avoid being a victim of this new scam. Just like dealing with email and other telephone scams, always pay attention to the little details, as the caller tries to manipulate you into doing something you shouldn't.
Here are some more tips:
Verify the Source of the Phone Call
If you receive a call or a message that seems suspicious or tries to engage your emotions right from the start slow down and make sure you're speaking with the person claim to be.
Listen carefully but try another channel to verify the caller. Offer to call the person back at a known telephone number, if possible. Send a text or an email to the person, or to someone you know to be close by.
Don't Share Personal Information
We've all been cautioned not to share credit card or bank information over the phone, particularly if the person called you. Be especially vigilant if someone you "know" suddenly calls you out of the blue asking for any of this type of information.
Tell the person you'll call back with the information, but don't provide it across a call you didn't initiate.
Trust Your Instincts
If something feels "off", trust your gut.
You know your friends and family better than anyone, and if someone is suddenly asking you for information that's out of character or trying to manipulate your emotions to gain something, chances are you're being scammed.
Again, find a secondary way to contact the person to verify who you're speaking with.
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