Scam Uses Artificial Intelligence To Replicate Loved Ones’ Voices, Middle TN Police Warn

Middle Tennessee law enforcement has issued an alert concerning a believable scam utilizing artificial intelligence to trick people out of money.

The Hendersonville Police Department has recently warned people to be following alert news of a deceitful scheme occurring in the area. Individuals posing as friends or relatives of their targets have been phoning, pretending to be in distress, and asking for money.

A voice recording of only a few minutes is needed to execute the voice mimicry fraud. Doug Schmidt, a professor of computer science at Vanderbilt University, explained.

Doug Schmidt says:

“They’re able to use increasingly small snippets of voice samples in order to be able to train a model to imitate somebody’s voice.”

Scammers can use counterfeit vocalization to make the genuine individual appear to have uttered practically anything.

Viewers of News 2 were given a demonstration of the technology using an AI-created voice that sounded like Dr. Phil. The version of the software we employed was free, though the paid one is much more lifelike.

Schmidt mentioned that scammers had taken advantage of the affordability of the software, as it can be leased for only $6 to $10 a month.

Doug Schmidt went on to say:

“Anybody who really wants to turn this into a lucrative cybercrime business, with very, very low barrier to entry, can create extremely powerful tools that will fool most people, and this is actually incredibly alarming.”

Robyn Householder, the CEO and president of the Better Business Bureau for Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, revealed to News 2 that to avoid becoming a target, it is best not to answer the phone when an unfamiliar number rings.

Householder says:

“A legitimate caller, a true friend, a company you’ve worked with, a charity you have a relationship with, they’re going to leave a message.”

“A scammer won’t leave a message, and that’s quite frankly the best way to protect yourself.”

Householder suggests that if you get a call from a con artist, don’t act quickly and take time to comprehend the situation. Additionally, inform them that you will contact them again in the future so they can’t have an opportunity to scam you.

Householder went on to say:

“We like to say scammers are nothing more than really amazing opportunists, and so they just seize the moment and take the opportunity to then take your money.”

Social media provides scammers with a wealth of personal detail they can use to tailor their crimes. They may even mimic the voice of someone close to their victim, making it all the more convincing with targeted words and phrases. Schmidt gave more counsel to prevent falling prey to this scam.

The computer science professor says:

“The way to trick [the scammer] is to ask them about things that you did together that didn’t happen, because it’s a lot harder to discover what you didn’t do together than to discover what you did do.”

Schmidt strongly advised the community members to be cautious of any calls, emails, etc., they receive.

Schmidt went on to say:

“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

“If we want to have a free society where we can interact with each other in a relatively unfettered way, we have to be increasingly vigilant to these scams.”

As this scam shows, con artists are willing to use increasingly deceptive methods to try and separate you from your money. It’s important to be mindful of any unexpected communication and phone calls, no matter how realistic they might sound. If you receive a call that makes you suspicious, always research before giving out personal information or sending money.

Talk about the situation with trusted family and friends, then contact the authorities if something is wrong. This applies to the ‘deepfake’ AI scam targeting Middle Tennessee residents; remember to stay vigilant about unethical activities like this!

Source: WKRN News 2

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