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AI Voice Scams and Preventing Family Emergency Fraud

August 04, 2023

Picture this – you get a phone call from your daughter claiming that she’s been arrested and needs you to send money to bail her out of jail. It sounds just like her, and she’s urgently asking you to send a large amount of money as soon as you can. While it is her voice, the situation seems off. Thanks to the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), scammers are capitalizing on the latest voice altering technology to further convince you to fall for their schemes. 

According to a recent study, AI voice scams are rapidly on the rise with one in four adults being impacted. Learn more about AI scams and ways you can protect yourself and loved ones. 

How does it work? 

  • With the advancement of AI capabilities, it is now possible to clone someone's voice through a phone call. These artificial intelligence-enabled speech frauds are based on a traditional scamming technique that affects family members and loved ones. 
  • Scammers look to the internet, like social media, to obtain voice samples and clone them to create the audio that sounds like someone you may know. McAfee Corp. researchers found that a voice can be cloned from just three seconds of audio to carry on a full conversation. 
  • To make the conversation seem credible, some fraudsters put in the effort to investigate personal details about the victims' relatives. 
Who is being targeted and what are the red flags? 
  • While these scams cannot be prevented entirely, the best way to protect yourself or a loved one is to know the red flags to watch out for. 
  • These scams target everyone, but in particular are honing in on grandparents. In a common scenario, the scammer claims to be one of their grandkids in need of immediate help, like money to be bailed out of jail or to pay a hospital bill. Learn more about grandparents scams.
  • Be particularly suspicious in how you are being asked to send funds, especially if they’re hard to track. Methods to watch out for are wiring funds, using a third party person-to-person payment app, and purchasing gift cards or cryptocurrency. 
  • Avoid posting videos on social media that use your voice, since scammers are using these to obtain voice samples. 
What to do if you get a suspicious call
  • If you happen to fear you are the target of an AI voice scam, your initial move is to hang up and contact the individual who called back using a number you know is theirs to confirm the narrative. 
  • If you are unable to get in touch with them, call other family members or friends to see if they are aware of what's happening. 
What to do if you’ve been scammed
  • If you suspect a scam, contact us at 1-877-463-6287 or any other financial institution that may be involved as soon as possible for further assistance.
  • If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at Individual indications of fraud that are reported serve to secure communities by allowing the FTC to investigate and pursue charges involving fraudsters and scammers. 

Check out our additional resources on scams and visit our Security Center to learn more. 
by Middlesex Savings Bank