Protect Yourself from Artificial Intelligence Scams
Phishing scams are becoming a pressing problem. These fraudulent attempts to steal personal and financial information have evolved over the years, becoming increasingly sophisticated. The latest twist in this perilous tale involves the cunning use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deceive unsuspecting victims. In an Ethnic Media Services press conference, Ben Davidson, an attorney within the Division of Marketing Practices at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), recently shed light on this evolving threat.
Davidson emphasized that phishing, once primarily associated with deceptive emails, has expanded its horizons. “Phishing is changing and taking new forms, especially with text and AI,” warns Davidson. Phishing scams aim to establish trust through various means, such as impersonating reputable entities or presenting convincing invoices. One of the most familiar tactics involves email, where attackers pose as well-known organizations like Microsoft. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
According to the Consumer Sentinel Reports presented at the press conference, between January and June of this year, there were 1.1 million reported cases of phishing, resulting in losses totaling $4.4 billion. Notably, social media platforms emerged as the primary place where people fall for scams, while phone calls yielded the highest individual losses. However, it is important to note that, when focusing on phishing attempts, text messaging has now become the most prevalent medium.
Alarmingly, this is the area where new artificial intelligence technologies play a role. Scammers have been reported using voice synthesizers or chat bots to simulate being relatives or loved ones in difficult situations so that people send them money or financial information while not realizing that people behind the other side of the screen are impostors. You can find more details about these scams and some examples of what they might look like on the FTC’s website [https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/data-visualizations/data-spotlight/2023/06/iykyk-top-text-scams-2022].
Detecting phishing scams is not always straightforward, but there are steps you can take to safeguard your information. First and foremost, slow down and scrutinize any messages or emails requesting personal or financial data. Be particularly cautious if the sender urges you to act quickly or creates a sense of urgency. Verifying the legitimacy of phone numbers and email addresses is crucial. While scammers are becoming increasingly adept at mimicking official channels and it’s not easy to find the grammar or spelling mistakes that used to be associated with scams, a discerning eye can often spot discrepancies on the sender’s email or logo.
Davidson emphasizes the importance of reporting phishing attempts promptly. Forward any suspicious messages to 7726, which corresponds to the FTC’s spam reporting service. Some phone companies offer built-in filters to identify potential phishing texts, and there are dedicated apps available to help you identify suspicious messages. For more information and support, visit the FTC’s comprehensive resource [http://ftc.gov/calls] dedicated to combating phishing scams.
As phishing scams increasingly harness the power of AI and chatbots to scale their nefarious actions, it is crucial to remain vigilant. Be cautious of unsolicited messages, even if they seem legitimate. Avoid clicking on any links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. If you find yourself falling victim to a phishing scam, act swiftly. Contact the FTC through their dedicated scam reporting portal [FTC.gov/scams] to document the incident.
In cases involving gift card payments, remember that they may offer a safer avenue for recovery compared to other forms of payment. If the money was frozen or not downloaded by the scammers, some gift card companies will give the money back once notified.