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AI Voice Scams – What to Be Aware of To Protect Yourself

| Angela Naff |

We’ve all heard about AI (artificial intelligence) for coding, writing social media posts, and a litany of other positive enhancements to business and personal endeavors. While many are split on the benefits of AI versus the downsides, a new insidious side of this advancing technology is emerging to the tune of 2.6 Billion dollars in imposter scam frauds. What do you need to know about this growing segment of crimes to best protect yourself?

What is AI Voice Cloning?

AI voice cloning is when software can take clips and snippets of a person’s voice and then use that data to produce new conversation streams. At the beginning of this technology, extensive samples of a person’s voice were needed, and it was much more complicated to produce these fake elements. Today, the technology is making voice cloning accessible to the general public at alarming rates.

Today a plethora of apps can more readily close someone’s voice. Several apps can be downloaded from Apple’s app store or Google Play and clone voices with short talking samples. Voice cloning can be used for those who have lost the ability to speak or even for voiceover work which is a benefit of this technology.

How Accurate is Voice Cloning?

While there is still a robotic quality to voice cloning, it matches the original person enough to often fool those even closest to an individual. While voice cloning has come a long way in recent years, it still can’t replicate a human’s speech patterns. Sometimes we stop and breathe, pause to think about what we’re saying, or get distracted. So any system that always pronounces words or phrases similarly will sound a bit robotic, but honestly, in several recent experiments, even those closest to the voice originator can’t tell the difference.

Rise In AI Voice Cloning Crimes

The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers are using this voice cloning technology to clone strangers’ voices, and the crimes are leading to distressing situations for people everywhere. Criminals are tricking victims into thinking they’re talking to a relative who may need money for reasons like paying for damages from a car accident or paying ransom for a kidnapping. These criminals need a clip of 20 seconds or more, which can often be pulled from social media to clone their voices.

How to Not Fall Victim?

Always being skeptical is the best advice when someone calls you for money. Don’t rely just on caller ID, as that also is a technology for which scammers might have a workaround to advance their scam. The best thing to do is hang up and call the person back from the contacts in your phone.

As scammers are getting more sophisticated and using voice cloning to perpetrate their crimes, we must be alert when getting calls specifically requesting money. This might sound like a coworker, loved one, or someone close to you, but never be taken at face value. When someone calls you seeking funds for various reasons, the best option is to hang up and call back the person to a known contact number in your phone. Additionally, realize that clips online in reels, social media posts, and other clips of your voice could be used to make these voice clone scams. Limiting profiles to those you know or not putting your voice out online is another safeguard to consider.

As AI continues to infiltrate all areas of our world, we need to pay attention to each advancement’s negative side. While this technology continues to become more readily available,  scammers and those who want to extort these advancements will continue to evolve to use these advances against us. Staying knowledgeable, on guard, and ever vigilant in requests for money, personal information, and other identifying traits that people can use against us must remain foremost in our minds.

Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos

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