Coffee Phone on Desk

Hey there! Ready for another tech deep dive? Pull up a chair, and grab your favourite cup of coffee, Today, we’re talking about something that sounds more like a Hollywood thriller than reality. But trust me, this is as real as it gets. AI phone scams aren’t your typical “prince-in-distress” email scams; this is a whole new level of deception that’s as chilling as that iced latte in your hand

Picture this: you’re sitting at your workspace, going through your daily tasks, when your phone rings. It’s your brother’s voice on the other end, sounding distressed and in need of immediate financial help. You’re ready to rush to the rescue, but wait! Is it really your brother, or have you just become the latest target of an AI voice scam

Telemarketing Scams: The Evolution

Remember when telemarketing calls were just annoying interruptions during dinner? Those were simpler times. These pesky calls have evolved into sophisticated scams, thanks to our frenemy, artificial intelligence (AI). With just a few seconds of audio, scammers can clone voices, making it nearly impossible to tell a real call from a fake one. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), victims of these AI scams lose an average of $748. Yikes!

Phishing Calls: The New Norm?

Phishing isn’t only a threat in your inbox anymore. Bad actors can weaponise AI for personal gain with just a small fee, a few minutes, and an internet connection. These cyber tricksters are now dialling us up, using AI to bamboozle us into giving away sensitive information. And guess what? They’re targeting us, the female entrepreneurs, because we’re often juggling customer data, financial transactions, and other juicy details they’d love to get their grubby cyber hands on.

Voice Synthesizers: The Puppet Masters of Scams

Voice synthesizers are the latest tools in the scammer’s toolbox. These crafty devices use AI to mimic human voices, creating eerily accurate clones. They’re pretending to be our loved ones, clients, suppliers, lawyers, and even banks. It’s like a twisted game of ‘Who’s Who?’, where the stakes are our hard-earned money and business reputation.

The New Age of Cybercrime

In the heart of Chicago, Eddie Cumberbatch, a 19-year-old TikTok sensation, found himself caught up in this exact scenario. Fraudsters used AI technology to clone his voice and tried to trick his family into sending money. But what was once an isolated incident has now become a new trend in cybercrime.

Impersonation scams aren’t a novelty; they’ve been tricking people out of a whopping $2.6 billion in 2022 alone. But the introduction of AI technology has given these scams a high-tech makeover.

Today, a scammer needs three seconds of audio and an internet connection to clone a voice. It’s as easy as ordering a latte on your favourite coffee shop’s app. And the worst part? Many people, like us, can’t tell the difference between real and cloned voices.

The Cost of Falling for AI Scams

While Eddie’s story had a fortunate ending, not everyone is as lucky. In a survey by global security software company McAfee, one in ten people have been targeted by an AI voice scam, and over one-third lost more than $1,000. Some victims even reported losing over $5,000. That’s a lot of lattes!

The Role of AI Technology in Scams

As AI technology becomes more accessible and affordable, it’s like a gold mine for cybercriminals. Platforms like Murf and Resemble are making it easy for them to create realistic voices. But catching these scammers is like finding a needle in a haystack. They operate from different locations and leave little information behind.

Protecting Ourselves: Knowledge is Power

Now, I know all this sounds scary. But don’t panic, ladies. We’re not helpless. So, how do we, as female entrepreneurs, protect ourselves and our online businesses from these scams? Awareness and caution! If you receive a distress call from a loved one, don’t panic. Ask questions that only they would know the answer to and verify the story separately.

Here are some practical tips to protect ourselves:

  1. Stay Alert: Trust your instincts. If a call feels ‘off’, it probably is. Ask specific questions only the real person would know.
  • Even better, have a pre-agreed password/passphrase that your family know to use to verify themselves on the phone.
  • Verify the Caller: If someone claiming to be from a company calls asking for sensitive info, hang up and call back on a verified number.
  • Stay Informed: Subscribe to cybersecurity newsletters and follow reputable tech news sites. Knowledge is power, after all.

The Need for Regulation

With AI becoming as common as your morning coffee, these scams threaten to erode our trust in our closest family members. The good news? Awareness of these scams is growing. Governments and tech companies are working towards regulation and protection measures.

Ally Armeson, the executive program director of Cybercrime Support Network, agrees. “Generative AI is evolving very quickly,” she said. “Like any technology, generative AI can be misused or exploited for harmful purposes, so certainly regulation will be necessary.”

Final Thoughts

While several AI cybersecurity solutions are being developed, until they’re accessible to all of us, we must understand the new cyber threat landscape and protect ourselves.

And hey, if you’ve ever experienced a phone scam, why not share your story? Let’s get the conversation started and spread awareness about these AI voice scams. After all, knowledge is power, and sharing is caring, right? So, comment below and let’s chat! Stay safe, stay informed, and keep rocking the entrepreneurial world, ladies! Let’s outsmart these cybercriminals together!

Becky Duncan