AI-cyber scams are coming at us. According to online protection company McAfee we get hit with nearly five shady emails, four fraudulent “smishing” texts, and at least three attempted social media scams every single day.
Billions lost to online scams
Americans lost $10.3 billion to online scams last year and we are on pace to lose even more this year according to the FBI. The average person that falls prey to a cyber scam loses around $1,000 to their entire life savings.
Most common AI scams to be aware of
Phishing or Smishing Scams
Phishing is the blanket term for fake messages, sent via email, text, or DM’s that mimic trusted companies, i.e., Netflix, Amazon, etc. This phishing scam’s purpose is to get you to divulge personal information, passwords, or credit card numbers.
Most Common Phishing Scams
- You’ve won a prize message
- Texts about purchases you didn’t make
- Fake missed delivery or problem with delivery notifications
- Amazon security alerts or notifications about your account
- Netflix (or other similar apps) subscription messages and updates
- Account sign-in and location verification messages
- Fake job alerts
This is when the scammer sends a QR code that appears to be legitimate. Unfortunately, when you scan the code on a fraudulent website it installs malware or asks for sensitive personal or financial information.
Fraudulent impersonation of trusted entities such as the IRS to attain personal information or demand quick payments.
Tech Support Scams
Scammers offering to help with computer problems therefore misleading consumers into granting access to private information or paying fees for unnecessary services.
Voice Cloning Scams
Rapidly growing are the AI tools used to clone the voices of individuals. They target you on social media to make panicked calls to family or friends hoping to convince the recipient to give them money or sensitive information.
Scammers will search social media or the internet for audio clips. 10 seconds is the ideal audio clip, but they can use as little as 3 seconds to get a very realistic clone of your voice. The audio clip is then run through an AI program that replicates your voice. This allows the scammer to say whatever they type and to add emotions (fear, laughter, panic, etc.).
AI is used to manipulate well-known media figures to deceive and push for financial transactions. The goal of the scammer is to create a since of urgency that your loved one is in trouble. The best way to deal with these situations is to hang up and call your loved one for verification.
Steps You Can Take To Avoid Being A Victim of Scamming
-Be cautious of what you post online that is available to the public
-Think twice before responding to an urgent call from an unknown number that is supposedly from someone you know
-Implement a family safe word or phrase to verify the caller is a family member with an emergency
-Don’t click on unsolicited links, or take out of the blue calls. EVER
-Concerned your account’s been hacked? Call the company or log on to their site in a new browser but never from the message itself
-Block the sender and delete the text
-Use antivirus protection
-Verify that device security is turned on
-Double check ads on reputable sites before clicking on them. If it seems too good to be true it is usually a scam