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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Lehr-Splawinski, Marketing Communications

How to protect yourself or a loved one from an Artificial Intelligence (AI) phone scam?

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

There have been recently very alarming police reports of scammers using artificial intelligence to clone people's voices targeting seniors across Canada via phone. By using a loved one's voice, for example a grandsons, scammers pretend to be in an emergency situation as that specific person, and ask for money to help them out into safety.

CBC News has recently contacted four of the eight victims listed in court documents. In all four cases, the scammers did know some personal details about the actual relative, a grandchildren for example, their name, where they live & work, and names of other family members.

Each of the victims stated that they believed that their actual grandchild had called, stating they were in an accident or in jail. Seniors were told that drugs were found in the car by police and they needed money to either pay for bail or legal fees in one of those cases.

In all four fraud cases, the scammers/criminals knew some personal details about the actual grandchildren — like where they live and work, and the names of other family members. All four victims were convinced that it was their grandchild's voice on the phone.

Experts state that cloning someone's voice is easy & cheap so it's not at all surprising that somebody would do that for criminal purposes.

How you can protect yourself or a loved one from an Artificial Intelligence phone scam:

Think & act clearly & calmly, don't panic and take action to protect yourself. Always be alert when picking up the phone.

Below are some helpful tips:

  • Who is calling? Always call that specific person back yourself to ensure that this is not a scam. Hang up. Call your grandchild on their cell phone and any other place the scammer is saying they are calling from.

  • Ask which place they are calling from. Always ask for details!

When the scammer states that they're calling from a police station, ask which one so you can hang up and call back.

NEVER provide any personal information, send/transfer money or do anything the scammer is asking you to do. Hang up and makes sure to take the recommended actions above so you dont become a victim of an AI scam.

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