As you navigate the digital landscape, it is important to be aware of the evolving fraud risks posed by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Scammers embrace AI because it enables them to analyze large amounts of data quickly, identify potential targets more efficiently, and personalize their scams to appear genuine, increasing the chances of success.
By equipping yourself with the right knowledge and skills, you can mitigate many of these risks. Much of this comes down to staying informed about the latest scams and fraud tactics. By doing this, you’re improving your ability to detect potential risks before they ensnare you in their deceptive web. Here are a few of the most popular:
Phishing scams are a time-tested strategy and have only gotten better through AI. Scammers use AI to craft convincing emails or messages impersonating reputable organizations.1 For example, you might receive an email that appears to be from your bank, asking you to update your account details by clicking on a link. The look and feel of the site may be spot-on, but it’s not your bank, it’s an imposter looking to gain your login credentials.
Imposter scams involve fraudsters posing as trusted individuals or organizations, such as government agencies or utility companies.2 AI technology enables scammers to mimic voices and manipulate victims into believing their authenticity. For example, you may receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, pressuring you to provide personal information or make immediate payments. It might sound legitimate, but the IRS will never call you for an immediate payment.
Tech Support Scams
Tech support scams pretend to offer assistance with computer issues. Scammers may use pop-ups or phone calls to convince individuals to provide access to their devices or pay for unnecessary services.3 For example, you may encounter a pop-up claiming your computer is infected and urging you to call a toll-free number for immediate assistance. Once again, this is a scam trying to separate you and your hard-earned money.
Grandparent scams exploit emotions by pretending to be a grandchild in distress, often requesting money urgently.4 AI technology enables scammers to research and personalize their approach, making the scam more convincing. For example, you might receive a phone call from someone claiming to be your grandson, asking for money to bail him out of jail. Rest assured, your grandson is probably not in jail, this is a scam and you should hang up.
Deepfake technology, fueled by AI, is a growing concern in the realm of fraud. Scammers can use AI algorithms to manipulate videos or images, creating realistic yet fraudulent content that appears to feature well-known individuals. This can be leveraged for various scams, such as impersonating celebrities or public figures to deceive individuals into believing false narratives or engaging in financial transactions. For example, you might see a video featuring a famous person encouraging you to invest in an exciting new opportunity. It might look real, but it’s computer-generated.
AI-powered malware attacks have become more sophisticated, making it harder to detect and prevent them. Scammers leverage AI to create intelligent malware that can evade traditional security measures and exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems or networks. For example, you might download a seemingly innocent file, but behind the scenes, the malware is infiltrating your computer.5
Protecting oneself from AI-driven fraud requires a combination of awareness, caution, and education. Be cautious of unsolicited requests for personal information, immediate payments, or access to your devices, whether it’s an email, phone call, or pop-up.
Independently verify the identity of individuals or organizations contacting you. Don’t rely solely on the information provided by the caller or the content of an email. Use official contact information from trusted sources to reach out and confirm the authenticity of the communication.
By staying informed about the latest scams, recognizing the signs of AI-driven fraud, and implementing the tips provided by reputable sources, you can safeguard your financial well-being in the digital age.
1 AARP. “Phishing.” Aarp.Org, 2 Sept. 2021, www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/phishing.html. Accessed 14 Jul. 2023.
2 Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Advice. “Imposter Scams.” Consumer.Ftc.Gov, 18 May 2016, consumer.ftc.gov/features/imposter-scams. Accessed 14 Jul. 2023.
3 Waterman, Genevieve. “The Top 5 Financial Scams Targeting Older Adults.” National Council on Aging, 27 Jul. 2022, www.ncoa.org/article/top-5-financial-scams-targeting-older-adults. Accessed 14 Jul. 2023.
4 Waterman, Genevieve. “The Top 5 Financial Scams Targeting Older Adults.” National Council on Aging, 27 Jul. 2022, www.ncoa.org/article/top-5-financial-scams-targeting-older-adults. Accessed 14 Jul. 2023.
5 AARP. “Tech Support Scams.” Aarp.Org, 1 Apr. 2022, www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/tech-support.html. Accessed 14 Jul. 2023.