The Rise of AI Phone Scams

AI is everywhere, and we are only at the tip of the iceberg for this revolutionary and often alarming technology. It poses plenty of advancements right alongside an increasing number of risks spanning numerous industries. The dark side of this technology has led to a surge of sophisticated phone scams that exploit AI for malicious purposes. Scammers adapt like the rest of us to new technology, which is readily apparent with several in-play and developing forms of phone fraud.

These scams have popped up in recent headlines, and there is a good chance you’ve already experienced one in some fashion. Some are a fresh AI-driven take on old phishing techniques, while others use deep fake tactics that sound and feel increasingly real. Knowing what these scams are is vital to help you stay ahead of the curve. Although the rules of the game have changed, the goal for these scam artists remains the same – to target unsuspecting individuals and organizations with tactics that leverage AI to enhance their deceitful efforts.

AI-Generated Voice Impersonation

 One of the most alarming and eye-catching developments is the use of AI-generated voices to impersonate individuals. Examples of this scam continue to pop up on news feeds and represent a steady threat to anyone with a family. Scammers use AI-driven voice synthesis technology to create remarkably convincing fake voices, allowing them to make phone calls that sound incredibly authentic. The calls play on our innate care for loved ones and instinct to help when they are in trouble.

The calls often involved urgent requests for money, personal information, or sensitive data. It may sound like difficult advice to resist the urge to help a loved one in need, but with this scam on the table, best practice is doing just that. Older individuals seem to be currently more at risk for this particular scam, although it’s easy to see how it can affect anyone. If you receive a suspect call, always follow up with your loved one directly to rule out the scam. This is often easier said than done in the heat of the moment, so remain aware as best as possible.

Spear Phishing with AI-Enhanced Personalization

Phone scammers are also leveraging AI to enhance the personalization of their phishing attempts. And with increased personalization comes increased effectiveness. By analyzing publicly available data from social media and other commonly used sources, they can create highly tailored messages that increase the likelihood of victims falling for their schemes. With a treasure trove of information easily accessible, cybercriminals have the perfect recipe for ongoing success.

Many of these personalized scams involve the caller posing as legitimate institutions or individuals, which is also a common phishing tactic. The difference is that because the scammer already has so much personal information on the victim, it’s much easier to fall into the trap of revealing more personal data. In addition to gleaning personal information, scammers may trick the victim into transferring money or downloading a link that installs malware onto their electronic devices.

Robocalls Becoming Realistic with AI-Backed Conversations

A robocall was once easy to spot because knowing if you were talking to a robot or a human was pretty apparent. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. AI now gives scammers a massive advantage in engaging victims in very realistic conversations that mimic everyday human interactions.

Using advanced natural language processing algorithms, these calls can adapt responses based on a victim’s reactions. In other words, the robocaller can now sense how a victim responds to a potential scam and adjust accordingly. This not only makes the scam calls more effective but also much more difficult to detect. Because the victims feel like they are conversing with a real person, they can let their guard down to reveal personal information and fall into other traps.

Deepfake-Enabled Extortion

Deepfake technology is on the rise across the board but has started to creep into phone scams with more regularity. Deepfakes use AI to create realistic videos or audio recordings of people that can be used for various purposes, including extortion. This isn’t yet as common as some of the other AI-phone scams on this list, but it does happen.

A typical deep fake-enabled extortion plan can begin with a phone call that sounds like a known acquaintance or loved one. The victim might then be sent a video link with the same person saying they are in serious trouble or have been kidnapped, with the perpetrators demanding a ransom. Another version is when the phone scammers use a deep fake of the victim themselves in a compromising situation and threaten to release the faked footage unless ransom demands are met. The images or videos might be known fakes, but the fear of them being released online can convince a victim to follow along with the scammer’s orders.

Final Thoughts

 Unfortunately, the rise of AI has given numerous opportunities for a new wave of scams to thrive. This technology has been directly applied to phone scams to make them more sophisticated, personalized, and convincing than ever before. Using AI-generated voices, deepfake technology, and highly personalized spear phishing messages has made these scams much more difficult to spot and resist.

As scammers continue to adapt and evolve their many methods, we all must remain aware of these emerging threats and stay informed of their evolution. Implementing strong security measures, keeping ever cautious of unsolicited communication, and verifying the authenticity of any requests for personal information can help mitigate the risks associated with AI-driven phone scams. Having a plan in place for identity restoration services will help you get back on track if you do fall victim.

LibertyID provides expert, full-service, fully managed identity theft restoration to individuals, couples, extended families* and businesses. LibertyID has a 100% success rate in resolving all forms of identity fraud on behalf of our subscribers.

*LibertyID defines an extended family as you, your spouse/partner, your parents and parents-in-law, and your children under the age of 25.