While technology has empowered humans to do some incredible things, it’s also contributed to a rise in scams. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 2.4 million consumers filed fraud complaints in 2022, with over $8.8 billion lost to scams (an increase of more than 30% compared with 2021).
Though there are many types of fraud, imposter scams were the most frequently reported scam, with artificial intelligence (AI) making it easier than ever to pretend to be someone you’re not. A global study conducted by computer security company McAfee revealed that one in four people worldwide had either experienced a voice cloning scam or knew someone who had. With the prevalence of AI scams growing every day, it’s more important than ever to stay informed and take precautionary steps to protect yourself and those around you from AI scams.
Though fraud has been around for centuries, today’s scammers are increasingly using artificial intelligence to carry out even more sophisticated scams. Common examples of AI scams include:
Voice cloning uses AI to replicate someone else’s voice. Scammers may pose as relatives or friends over the phone, fabricating a story about an emergency and asking their victim to send money immediately. Scammers can also use AI voice cloning to try and gain access to victims’ financial accounts at institutions that use voice recognition prompts for security.
In a CEO scam, a scammer impersonates a business’s CEO and asks an employee to make a payment or share confidential information. Since these emails or texts appear to come from the CEO, some employees won’t think twice about questioning the head of the company.
Phishing is a common impersonation scam where the attacker aims to steal sensitive information by pretending to be a trustworthy source. Scammers may utilize AI to add personalized greetings and perfect the company’s language, which can make phishing messages seem even more legitimate and convincing.
Hackers may use malicious computer codes (aka malware) to try and steal passwords and gain access to bank accounts and other confidential information. Under the guise of a legitimate software program, scammers will trick computer users into downloading programs containing malicious code. The scammers will then run these codes on the victim’s computer, which can use different methods to steal passwords.
The best ways to protect yourself against AI scams are to be prepared, understand these scams and be on the lookout for them. If you suspect an AI scam or bank scam, use these cybersecurity tips to help keep your information safe.
Scammers can use AI to replicate the sound of someone’s voice, which can be very convincing. A safeword is a quick and easy way to verify a person’s identity.
Some companies require two-factor authentication before granting you access to your email or financial accounts. A two-factor authentication code can help stop scammers in their tracks, keeping you safe in the event your passwords are compromised.
Scammers only need to record you speaking for a few seconds to clone your voice. If you receive a call from an unknown number, let it ring through to voicemail. Then, if you decide it seems legitimate, you can call back to verify the identity of the person who called.
Never give your personal information over the phone to someone claiming to be your bank. Most banks, including Seacoast, will never initiate a conversation over the phone to ask for your personal information. If you’re ever in doubt, hang up the phone and call your local bank branch to verify any requests.
Taking time to educate yourself about AI and how criminals use it to scam people is one of the most important things you can do to keep your money and confidential information safe. By understanding how scam artists can trick people, you’ll be in a better position to recognize AI scams and avoid falling victim to these deceptive techniques.
The rise of publicly available AI tools like ChatGPT offers scammers a way to leverage AI to create even more sophisticated scams. While these scams can be convincing, you have the power to prevent them by recognizing the signs of an AI scam and following best practices for protecting your financial information.
At Seacoast, we’re serious about cybersecurity. That’s why we utilize 128-bit encryption technology and multi-factor authentication to keep your private information private. We’re proud to provide fraud prevention and cybersecurity tips on our website, so you can stay up to speed on how to protect your financial information and ward off potential AI scams.