The Next Thing to Watch Out For: AI Scams

by Chris Bjorklund


It’s hard to keep up with the news about artificial intelligence and all the ways it’s beginning to revolutionize and transform our lives. With everyone still trying to figure out where AI is headed and how to manage it, it’s no surprise that scammers have already come up with at least one profitable application.

You’ve probably heard of the telephone scam where loved ones are called by a family member who’s panicked and screaming for help. Grandparents are common targets. Now, scammers have a way to make the call sound like the distressed family member’s actual voice, and the results are eerily accurate. This kind of impersonation is already a popular racket in the U.S. (with more than $11 million in losses), but AI technology makes it even easier for these scammers to succeed. They only need about three seconds of audio to clone someone’s voice—it’s often lifted from TikTok or Facebook—and they’re difficult to stop because they’re almost impossible to track down.

The best way to fight these “voice cloning” thieves is to be hypervigilant. If you get one of these distress calls, don’t automatically pay the money without independently trying to contact the relative who claims to be in trouble or someone who also knows that relative. Another consumer site recommends creating a unique family password to use in case of emergencies. If the caller can’t say the password, hang up. 

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