Expert warns of new scam using deepfake AI technology

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 5:58 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Experts are sounding the alarm about some of the latest developments in scams that use deepfake AI. Scammers use the technology and things like social media or phone calls to pretend to be you.

It’s creating an increased threat to your security as well as national security.

One of the newest scams is all about your voice. You could easily fall victim to it by simply answering or even not answering your phone.

“There’s a new threat that’s been going around that is voice phishing,” said Andy Taylor, CEO of TechTalk Radio. “What scammers are doing now is using deepfake AI voice technology, recording a voice, and with not that much, they can go ahead and recreate that person’s voice, that tone, the whole bit to make it sound like somebody.”

As technology advances, more scams are coming directly to you through your devices. Taylor says it’s getting more difficult to tell what’s real and what’s fake, especially with one of the latest tactics that uses deepfake AI. The technology can use pictures or videos from social media and even recreate your voice from something as small as your voicemail message.

“So, you might get a phone call that says, ‘hey, I need some help.’ You say, ‘okay, what kind of help?’ Then they’ve got an AI. The person’s not saying it. It’s a recreation of their voice saying they need money or they need you to mail them gift cards, or the whole bit. And it sounds like it’s coming from you,” he explained.

There’s no sure way of knowing when a scammer could be recording your voice. A call like that could start by appearing to be a call or message from someone you know or even from law enforcement. The Pima County Sherriff’s Department says they’re seeing an increase in people reporting scammers that pretend to be deputies.

“They do seem to be increasing in the sense of emails or having a specific deputy’s name or something along those lines. It seems that they’re getting more savvy,” said Adam Schoonover, Public Information Officer for PCSD.

Over time, the scams have become more advanced, often using the names of real deputies found through social media. Scammers will also use burner phones or spoof numbers to appear more legitimate. PCSD says there’s no evidence yet that any of these scammers are using voice phishing, but you can never be sure what’s happening behind the screen.

“If you get this type of call, don’t just not report it and think it’s no big deal. Call us and we can at least document it. Don’t give any information out,” Schoonover advised.

When in doubt, experts recommend you question everything that comes to your device, whether it’s a call, text or email. If you have concerns that a call you received is a scam, you should report it to law enforcement. This will also help them keep up with the latest tactics.