Fulfilled living in later life
When you need passwords for calls from your family

Tuesday 13th February 2024

When you need passwords for calls from your family

Louise Morse

The ingenuity of scammers, that is people who are out to deceive you into sending them money, is increasing by leaps and bounds, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI). Using ‘deepfakes’ of real people, scammers are producing videos imitating a victim’s relatives, claiming to be in trouble and needing money.

We’ve become used to text messages saying ‘Hi Mum, my phone is broken, and I need money’; and the automated telephone calls saying that hundreds of pounds have been transferred from a credit card and you need to call this number with your details to confirm that the transaction is valid. I haven’t heard of anyone falling for the email from the highly placed Nigerian official who wanted to move large sums of money out of the country but needed to use someone else’s bank account and promised you a percentage if you passed him details of yours. But now scammers are using AI ‘Deepfakes’ of real people to make videos of a person’s face and clone their voice.

The director of the fraud prevention body CIFAS, said his organisation has already seen examples involving ‘deep fakes’ of real people. Speaking to the House of Commons Home Affairs select committee last week, he told them fraudsters are using AI to call as a friend or family member, saying, ‘I need some money, I’m stuck, and I’ve had to change my bank account or mobile number.’ Where AI has cloned the person’s face and voice, the call is far more persuasive to the average person.’

Criminals can clone voice or appearance by gathering clips from social media or from private messages. Mr Hayley added that AI is "not a future fraud threat anymore, it’s an existing fraud threat."

A feature of all these scams, whether by phone or text, or now using AI, is the sense of urgency. The aim is to push you to send money instantly.

My family has agreed a password, which we can ask each other should we receive a call like that. Another suggestion is to close the call and immediately telephone the person who has been cloned.

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