Artificial Intelligence Scammers Using Voices of Loved Ones to Target Victims

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 03/24/2023
Many of us are familiar with the age-old hoax in which victims are contacted by scammers posing as police or doctors and telling them that a loved one is in danger and urgent financial assistance is required. Now, a fresh spin on that time-tested plan that NPR says "sounds like a plot from a science fiction movie." On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission released a consumer advisory outlining how con artists are now utilizing artificial intelligence to capture people's speech, then calling their friends or family to try to con them.


The FTC, which has been looking into this issue for some time, states that all the con artist needs is a brief audio sample of your family member's voice and a voice-cloning program. "The con artist will sound exactly like your loved one when he phones you." However, dishonest players don't need expensive equipment to obtain those original audio snippets; instead, they can browse lengthy TED Lectures online or use inexpensive web tools to do so. Hany Farid, a professor of digital forensics at UC Berkeley, said earlier this month that it is now possible for anybody to copy your voice if you have a Facebook page or have recorded a TikTok with your voice present for 30 seconds.

According to FTC representatives, phone-based "imposter scams" cost consumers more than $11 million in 2022. However, after money has been stolen, there is frequently no way to get it back. "There is no coverage. You can't get it back. Benjamin Perkin, whose elderly parents lost more than $15,000 after receiving a call from a "lawyer," says: "It's gone "saying he was incarcerated and in need of cash. The FTC says to hang up and call the person back directly to confirm it's them if you ever receive a call from a supposed loved one asking for money, especially if they ask for gift cards, cryptocurrency, or for you to wire the money.

Even if the call appears to be coming from a loved one's number, that is still the case because the number could be faked. It could be difficult to resolve the problem as a whole. In addition to the increasing sophistication of technology, The Post reports that it can be challenging to track down such calls, and "government regulators, police enforcement, and the courts are ill-equipped" to deal with them. According to Farid of UC Berkeley, "it's kind of the ideal storm... [with] all the ingredients you need to produce mayhem." To report a possible scam to the FTC, go here.

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