ARIZONA NEWS

Here’s what the FBI Phoenix office wants you to know about AI ‘voice cloning’ scams

Apr 20, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 9:37 am

(Pixabay Photo)...

(Pixabay Photo)

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — People are finding new and innovative ways to use the increasingly popular artificial intelligence technology, but not all of those ways are for the greater good.

Dan Mayo, assistant special agent in charge with the FBI Phoenix, told KTAR News 92.3 FM “voice cloning” has become a big concern and is becoming more prevalent every day.

“A lot of criminals are using a lot of connectivity out there on social media—people that have a lot of stuff that’s publicly available, especially if they’ve got recordings of videos to target individuals for ransom,” Mayo said.

He also added that criminals will use social media videos to obtain voice samples and then use AI to replicate those voices to convince people they’re loved ones are in danger. “If they’ve got voice samples, they sound exactly like it could be your child,” he said.

It’s not just the voice information that can make a ransom call realistic. Mayo said criminals will use any public information to make a convincing story.

“Say I had a public facing social media profile with a lot of demographic data, pictures of what I’ve been doing, places that I frequent — a criminal’s going to be able to take advantage of that and make a very, very realistic scenario,” Mayo added.

He said it’s important for people to keep themselves and their family members safe and to be careful about what is posted online and how accessible a profile is, as most scammers won’t take the time to try to scam someone with a private account.

It’s also important for families to know where each other are and have quick easy ways to contact them to verify they’re safe, he said.

“They (criminals) make it sound like you have no time to confirm anything … you need to slow down, assess the situation and figure out where your significant other is or your child, because if you don’t have that information these individuals are going to take advantage,” Mayo said.

Anyone who thinks they are a victim of voice cloning can report it to the FBI.

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Here’s what the FBI Phoenix office wants you to know about AI ‘voice cloning’ scams