Watch Out for AI Voice Cloning Scams

    Watch Out for AI Voice Cloning Scams
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    Ever since ChatGPT was released to the public several months ago, the pros and cons of AI has been the talk of the online town. Here at the Trend Micro news blog, we’ve been covering the ins and outs of developments as they happen: from the recent ChatGPT data breach to My AI on Snapchat — not to mention the impact of chatbots and AI on education.

    AI Voice Cloning Scams

    AI voice cloning is being used by scammers to impersonate people and deceive victims into giving away money or sensitive information. Using a short video clip of someone’s voice from social media, scammers can easily create a voice clone of that person and then call their family/friends/colleagues and impersonate them.

    Scammers have recently used AI voice generator technology to make it appear as if they have kidnapped children and demanded large ransoms from distraught parents.  Last month it was reported that scammers cloned the voice of a 15-year-old girl from Arizona, called up her mom pretending to be her, and threatened to harm her before demanding a $1 million ransom. Thankfully, the mother was able to confirm that her daughter was safe — but the example goes to show the lengths scammers can go with AI technology.

    Another common AI voice scam is the “grandparent scam“, in which scammers use a grandchild’s cloned voice to extract money and personal credentials from the deceived and worried grandparent. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned about other voice cloning scams here. If you experience one of these scams, you should report any incidents to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

    Red Flags to Watch Out For:

    • The use of urgent language and demands for money.
    • The caller asks you to send cryptocurrency, buy gift cards, or pay them using some other untraceable method.
    • Suspiciously good voice recording quality and/or no discernable background noise.
    • Inconsistencies in the story or information provided. 
    • The kidnapped person not being able to tell you your pre-arranged safe word (if you had previously set one up together).

    How to Protect Yourself Against AI Voice Cloning Scams

    • Practice skepticism and be cautious when receiving unexpected phone calls or messages. 
    • Don’t overshare on social media because it can enable scammers to add believability to their lies. Think before you click and type — who is in your network? Consider limiting your posts to friends and family via privacy settings: the wider your connections, the more risk you may be opening yourself up to.
    • If a call is suspicious, end the call and contact your friend/family member/colleague directly, or call someone else who can confirm the situation.
    • Be skeptical when asked for money via cryptocurrency, gift cards, etc.
    • If you suspect that you are being scammed, report it to the FTC immediately.
    • NEVER use links or buttons from unknown sources! Use Trend Micro Check to detect scams with ease: Trend Micro Check is an all-in-one browser extension and mobile app for detecting scams, phishing attacks, malware, and dangerous links — and it’s FREE! It will block unwanted phone calls, annoying spam text messages, and protect you against malicious links in messages on apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Tinder.

    Protecting Your Identity and Personal Info

    Compromised personal data can have serious consequences, including identity theft, financial fraud, and job losses. The best thing you can do is a) have reliable cybersecurity protection, and b) ensure you will find out ASAP in the event of being affected. We would encourage readers to head over to our new FREE ID Protection platform, which has been designed to meet these challenges.

    ID Protection Homepage
    ID Protection Homepage

    With ID Protection, you can:

    1. Check to see if your data (email, number, password, credit card) has been exposed in a leak, or is up for grabs on the dark web;
    2. Secure your social media accounts with our Social Media Account Monitoring tool, with which you’ll receive a personalized report;
    3. Receive the strongest tough-to-hack password suggestions from our advanced AI (they’ll be safely stored in your Vault);
    4. Enjoy a safer browsing experience, as Trend Micro checks websites and prevents trackers.

    All this for free — why not give it a go today? As always, we hope this article has been an interesting and/or useful read. If so, please do SHARE it with family and friends to help keep the online community secure and informed — and consider leaving a like or comment below. Here’s to a secure 2023!

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