FRESNO, California – Cody Sarhan, Communications Specialist
A disturbing new trend is on the rise, where scammers are using AI to simulate a desperate child begging their parent for help. The result has left victims giving away personal and/or financial information to the scammer, believing it to be their child. Scammers can clone the voices of individuals through AI technology, by using just a few clips of audio taken from their child’s social media accounts.
Speaking with The Post, a mother in New York City recounts an event where she received a phone call from her distraught daughter screaming and crying for assistance because she had just been arrested. “Mommy, I just got arrested. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” Eventually, the call would be transferred to a “police officer” where the scammer proceeded to ask the mother for $15,000.
Another story out of Arizona would see a scammer use artificial intelligence to clone a “dead ringer” version of a mother’s child, while she was on a ski trip. The scammer would proceed to make it seem like her daughter was kidnapped, hearing the pleas of the child in the background as the scammer demanded $50,000 in ransom.
“I pick up the phone, and I hear my daughter’s voice, and it says, ‘Mom!’ and she’s sobbing. I said, ‘What happened?’ And she said, ‘Mom, I messed up,’ and she’s sobbing and crying. It was completely her voice, it was her inflection. It was the way she would have cried.” — Jennifer DeStefano
🎥 Video Curiosity of ABC News, Nightline
As AI becomes more sophisticated these diabolical scams are just the tip of the iceberg. Scammers are capable of analyzing and replicating the voice patterns of individuals, often using just a few snippets of their voice obtained from social media or other public platforms. These scammers prey on the emotional vulnerability of their victims, creating a sense of urgency and panic, making it even harder for individuals to question the authenticity of the call. The emotional turmoil caused by these incidents is immeasurable, and the financial losses can be substantial, with some victims losing thousands of dollars.
How to Combat This Threat & Spot the Fakes
These scams are becoming more prevalent each and every day, so individuals and businesses alike must stay vigilant and educate themselves about these threats. Verifying the identity of the caller, especially when they are asking for money or personal information, is crucial. One should take the time to contact the person in question directly through a known and trusted method before taking any action. Some people have “safe words” set up to help identify people immediately if there’s any doubt, or they’ll ask a question that only that person would know the answer to. It’s even wise in some cases, to let the call go to voicemail and return the call to better help verify.
How Xobee Can Help Protect You
Cybersecurity measures have never been more crucial than they are today. Protecting oneself from these advanced scams requires a multifaceted approach, combining education, vigilance, and the right technological tools. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, for instance, can play a significant role in this battle against scammers. For small businesses specifically, VoIP offers a cost-effective and flexible communication solution, but it also provides an additional layer of security. With features such as call encryption, authentication, and the ability to trace and block fraudulent calls, VoIP technology can significantly mitigate the risk of falling victim to these AI-powered voice scams.
Contact one of our highly skilled technicians now to learn how you can protect yourself from scammers and spam calls.
Xobee Networks now has engineers servicing clients within Fresno, Clovis, Madera, San Jose, Sacramento, San Francisco & the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Las Vegas, Bakersfield, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Anaheim, Palm Springs, and more.
Cody Sarhan | Communications Specialist, Xobee Networks