The Grandparent Scam now has a new twist to it, as artificial intelligence is now being used to defraud seniors.
According to the Better Business Bureau, criminals are now using AI to clone voices and to steal cash from would-be victims.
Wes Lafortune, the communications and media specialist for the BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay says there are ways you can spot this scam.
“What you want to do is really validate the information, check out, call the person themselves, hang up for the scammer, call the person the phone number that you know they have, see how they are validate where they are, get some more information or call their parents, whoever. The other thing a lot of people are doing is using a code word or code phrase in their families so that if somebody contacts you asking for money and they don’t know this code word or code phrase, then it will obviously raise a serious red flag.”
Tips to Spot This Scam:
- Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is. Check out the story with other family and friends but hang up or close the message and call your loved one directly. Don’t call the phone number provided by the caller or caller ID. Ask questions that would be hard for an impostor to answer correctly.
- Know what your family members are sharing online. You may not have control over your family’s social media accounts but familiarize yourself with what they are sharing online.
- Don’t wire any money if there is any doubt about the call. If a person does wire money and later realizes it is a fraud, the police need to be alerted.
- Listen closely to the audio. Fake audio might include choppy sentences, unnatural or out-of-place inflection, odd phrasing, or background sounds that don’t match the speaker’s location. These are all signs of fake audio.
- Make sure you know who you are talking to. As deepfake technology progresses, you’ll need to confirm the identity of who you are speaking with – even if you think you know and trust them. You might not send money to a stranger who calls you out of the blue, but if scammers start using deepfakes to impersonate your loved ones, falling victim could be easier. Pay attention if a friend or family member makes an out-of-character request and confirms their identity before sending money or giving up sensitive personal information.
Lafortune says the BBB is urging consumers to talk to family members about this scam so they can be prepared and avoid becoming a victim.