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Home > Tools & Resources > The Rise of AI Scams and How to Avoid Them

The Rise of AI Scams and How to Avoid Them

5/15/2024

Financial scams are nothing new, but the use of artificial intelligence is making them more convincing and dangerous than ever before. Scammers use AI to impersonate trustworthy people and create false documents, such as invoices and IDs. Individuals should be aware of these common AI scams, how they work, and how to avoid falling prey to them.

How Do Scammers Use AI?

AI is a powerful technology that is developing at a rapid pace. AI’s power comes from its ability to examine data and recognize patterns. Scammers take advantage of this ability in many ways. For example, a scammer can feed voice recordings of a person to an AI program, then instruct it to replicate that voice. The AI will do so with frightening accuracy, and the scammer can then tell it to say whatever they wish using that specific voice clone.

A similar process can be used to imitate someone’s writing style, then create false emails, online profiles, and social media posts. You may even find yourself messaging with an AI chatbot who claims to be someone you know.

Perhaps the most dangerous use of AI is in the form of deepfakes. Deepfake technology is the process of generating false images and videos of a person by drawing from available media, such as pictures posted online. Scammers can use deepfakes to take on other people’s appearances. One employee at a multinational firm was deceived into paying out $25 million in company funds after participating in a deepfake video call with scammers who had taken on the likenesses of his colleagues.

Who Do Scammers Impersonate?

Fraudsters can use these AI processes to imitate anyone for whom they have obtained sufficient data, but here are several common scams to watch out for:

  • Friends and family – A scammer may pose as your relative and pretend to be in a rough financial spot or a medical emergency. They will try appealing to your compassionate side and ask for money to help them out. They may even claim to have been kidnapped and that you must send a ransom payment to secure their safety.
  • Government workers and law enforcement – A scammer may impersonate an IRS agent and demand payment for fees and taxes. They may claim that you have won the lottery and that you need to pay taxes on your winnings up front.
  • Debt collectors – Some scammers will claim to be official debt collectors demanding payment for debts. They may try to scare you into sending them money by threatening to have you arrested. Remember that legitimate debts very rarely lead to arrests. If a so-called debt collector refuses to provide additional details about your debt, they are most likely a scammer.
  • Financial representatives – Another common scam involves fraudsters posing as official employees of your credit union or bank. These scammers often claim that your account has been compromised, and you must move your money to a new account to protect it.
  • Charities – A scammer may pose as a charitable organization and use deepfake technology to create false images or livestreams of people in need. These scams are especially common after natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

How to Avoid AI Scams

While AI scams can vary greatly, there are many common warning signs to watch out for. Beware of anyone unexpectedly asking for money, whether it be over the phone, email, text, or any other platform. And remember that scammers can use AI to impersonate people you know, so don’t be quick to trust someone just because you recognize their voice.

Be especially wary if they ask you to provide sensitive information such as account numbers, passwords, and Social Security numbers. SharePoint Credit Union will never request personal details from you such as online or mobile banking login credentials, credit or debit card numbers, your account number, or Apple Pay / Google Pay information. If you’re uncertain, please call us at 952-930-0700.

Scammers will often ask you to pay them in unusual ways, such as through wire transfer, mobile apps, gift cards, or cryptocurrency. They will usually attempt to pressure you into paying them quickly, so beware of anyone claiming that there will be consequences if you don’t act fast.

If someone claims to be from a charity or debt collection agency that you’ve never heard of, ask them to provide additional information such as an address, phone number, or website. If they can’t provide this information, they are probably fraudsters.

If you suspect you may be speaking with a scammer, hang up the phone or leave the conversation. Contact the person or institution directly to verify their claims. A scammer may fake their caller ID or email address, so it’s important for you to initiate communication through a channel you know is legitimate.

Protect Your Finances with SharePoint Credit Union

With AI scams on the rise, it’s never been more vital to partner with a financial institution you can trust. Our merging partner, Star Choice Credit Union, recommends IdentityIQ, an award-winning provider of comprehensive identity and credit protection services. IdentityIQ provides real-time credit and identity monitoring in addition to suspicious activity alerts. We take your financial security seriously and offer numerous options for protecting your money and information. Contact us today to learn more.



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