Artificial intelligence (AI) is the science of making machines that can think like humans. It can do things that are considered “smart”. While this technology can be useful in many aspects, the Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers are increasingly turning to AI to create scams.
Here are two scams to watch for:
Voice impersonation scams are on the rise and can be quite frightening. AI technology makes it easier and cheaper for scammers to mimic voices, convincing people that their loved ones are in distress. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), impostor scams were the second most popular type of scam in 2022, accounting for more than 36,000 reports.
Most of the imposter scams work the same way. The scammer impersonates someone trustworthy like a child, romantic partner, or good friend. The scammer then convinces the victim to send money because they are distressed. Regardless of the story (I'm in jail, I was robbed, etc), the scammer will ask for money... immediately.
If you receive a call like this, here are four tips to avoid becoming the victim of the scam:
- Ask the caller a question that the impersonator could not answer. Something like "What month is my birthday?" or "What school do you go to"? If there is no response, hang up.
- If you receive a call, put the call on hold (if you have that feature) and try calling the person directly. Remember that the caller ID can also be spoofed, so don't assume it is legitimate if the caller ID matches the person's voice.
- Tell friends and family about this scam, especially older family members who may become victims.
- Have a secret code word or number that you share with your family. If someone is really in distress, ask for the code word or number to verify the caller's legitimacy.
Deepfakes are videos that use AI to create believable, but fake, depictions of real people including facial appearance and voice. Deepfakes are not new, but with advancements in AI and easy-to-use software, they are more realistic and are gaining traction on social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube. These deepfakes look so real, it is difficult to spot a scam from a legitimate video.
While it is unlikely that a scammer will make a deepfake video featuring you as an average internet user, it could happen. Here are a few tips to protect yourself:
- Keep your social media profiles private so scammers don't have easy access to the photos and videos you share.
- Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your devices can help you stay anonymous while online.
- Make sure your devices are free of malware. This is simply done by utilizing antivirus software.
- Report deepfakes to the social platform it was shared on. Deepfakes violate the guidelines of most platforms so it should be taken down swiftly.
- Be skeptical of "celebrity" endorsements that encourage you to buy or invest in any product. Instead, go directly to the website of the company and do your own research.
If you feel you have been the victim of a scam that possibly compromised your MyPoint accounts, contact Member Services immediately at 888-495-3400.