The cybersecurity company McAfee has released a new report (PDF) that suggests a growing number of people are being tricked by artificial intelligence voice scams. It found that 10% of surveyed adults had been personally targeted and another 15% knew someone who had been targeted. What’s quite alarming is that AI can mimic anybody’s voice with just three seconds of audio. It’s easy to imagine the havoc this can cause.
Of the victims, 77% had reported losing money as a part of the scam. Cybercriminals can use this technique to leave fake voicemails or even call the victim’s contacts pretending to be them. A third of the 77% who lost money said they lost over $1,000. Around 7% said that lost large sums between $5,000 and $15,000.
“Artificial intelligence brings incredible opportunities, but with any technology, there is always the potential for it to be used maliciously in the wrong hands. This is what we’re seeing today with the access and ease of use of AI tools helping cybercriminals to scale their efforts in increasingly convincing ways,” said Steve Grobman, McAfee CTO.
So, how on Earth do you protect yourself against these types of scams? McAfee has some tips for you to start securing your communications. First, it says to establish a codeword, this can be used by your contacts to establish you’re talking to a real person and not an AI fake. Another tip is to question the source. If you are suspicious of the call, you should hang up right away and phone the person back on the phone number you have saved for them. This way, you can avoid being scammed.