How To Fight The Latest AI-Powered Scams

AI scams

What You Need To Know About Artificial Intelligence Fraud

As Stephen Hawking said: “The rise of powerful AI will be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity.” Indeed, we’re far from an AI takeover. Regardless, we’ve witnessed the impressive capabilities of AI tools with ChatGPT, the most powerful language processing tool on the market, and its unhinged cousin Bing Chatbot.

Unfortunately, this means that criminals also have access to the same technology. Let’s explore some of the darker corners of the AI mind paired with scamming humans and ChatGPT scams.

How are criminals using AI to scam people, and which online fraud prevention techniques should you use to catch them early? We have some answers – keep reading.

artificial intelligence fraud

AI Impersonating Family Members in Distress

The latest AI scam hits close to home. In the vishing scam (phishing via phone call), criminals defrauded their victims for thousands of dollars — all of them were convinced that a person on the other side of the line was their loved one and needed help.

With just a few sentences of recorded audio, criminals have used AI to impersonate another person’s voice. In this case, the AI model mimicked the voice of their friends and family members in distress.

Thinking that their grandsons or daughters were in danger, the victims did what the voice on the other end said out of fear and concern for their loved ones. Here’s another one.

One couple even paid $15,000 to threat actors, convinced they were helping their son.

The Federal Trade Commission reported that imposter scams such as vishing were the most common type of fraud in 2022.

Another problem with such scams is that criminals can defraud their victims from any part of the world — making it challenging for government agencies to identify scammers and hold them accountable (e.g., if they lack jurisdiction to do so).

What can you do about voice scams? Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Avoid answering calls from unknown numbers
  • Ask additional questions to verify the caller’s identity
  • Never share sensitive information (e.g., Social security numbers or passwords) over the phone — even if your family is asking.

Using ChatGPT For Phishing

Phishing scams are one of the most common online threats out there. In most cases, they’re done via email. They impersonate someone a person might trust to urge them to take action.

For instance, they might request wire transfers, give away their password, or click a link leading to a phishing site.

Now bad actors can use ChatGPT to write scam emails for them — and they have done so. The Guardian reports that it has been used to write phishing emails ever since the release of the ChatGPT to the public.

Instead of relying on a person to click on a malicious link or download an attachment, a flood of emails point to more complex phishing schemes. The emails are personalized to the recipient and thus more successful.

The emails impersonate authority figures or organizations we tend to trust, such as the bank or the police, the boss, or their loved ones.

ChatGPT can also be used to set the tone — creating pressure and urgency of the regular phishing email.

Email filters that catalog suspicious emails to spam rely, among other things, on grammatical errors and misspelled words. Other clues are standard greetings and trigger words that scammers frequently use in emails.

Since ChatGPT generates correct sentences, the emails written by ChatGPT can easily bypass these filters — allowing them to reach the victim’s inbox.

What can you do to combat AI email phishing? Start with:

  • Investing in phishing awareness training for all employees (if you’re a company)
  • Use online fraud prevention tools that are bot based and sophisticated enough to make a difference between genuine and phishing sites.

Romance Scams Using Deepfakes and ChatGPT

Scammers can now use ChatGPT as their new wingman. It can write pickup lines, love letters, and Tinder chat responses. They can also use deep fake videos to send to their love interest. That’s why, online security needs to hit a new level.

In combination with deep fake video editors, threat actors can catfish their victims by impersonating anyone they can imagine.

In 2022, a manga artist lost over half a million dollars to a romance scam in which the lousy actor used deep fake video software to convince her she was communicating with the Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo.

With this evolved AI platform that can generate text, bad actors can scale their date scam operations — and find time to write to more of their victims.

Being a victim of a romance scam impacts victims emotionally and financially, leaving them heartbroken and having difficulty trusting others.

How to avoid being swindled by artificial intelligence? You can always:

  • Be on high alert — examine messages you get via email or social media for reused words and short sentences because that’s ChatGPT’s signature writing style.
  • Be wary if a famous person reaches out because celebrity romance scams are common.
  • Keep this in mind — if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.

Using the Latest AI Technology to Exploit Humans

Interestingly, one thing that AI-based schemes in this article have in common is that they still rely on human psychology. They tap into fears, trust, and the need to be accepted and loved.

As a result of using artificial intelligence for phishing purposes, it’s difficult for email filters to catch more sophisticated messages. Spelling and poor grammar aren’t there anymore, which usually tip off scam emails.

What can you do about AI phishing schemes? As an individual, scrutinize the messages you get — is there a sense of urgency, words being repeated, and seem too good to be true? Then it’s probably a scam using AI.

As a business, train your general workforce and have bot-based online fraud prevention that can help you uncover suspicious activity early.

How To Report Online Fraud

You can report any suspicious activity online to the Federal Trade Commission using their FTC portal below:

Report To The FTC Here

How To Protect Yourself More

If you want to be amongst the first to receive notifications about the most notorious scams every week, subscribe to our Scam Detector newsletter. You will receive periodic emails from us with insightful tips. That will include how to prevent fraud and information about the newest tools you can use to fight crime.

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selma hrynchuk
Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

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