Warning: Phone Scammers Cloning Voices Using AI


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning about a new scam technique using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to clone the voices of the victims’ family and friends during phone calls. Commonly referred to as “Family Emergency Scams,” these calls attempt to elicit money from an unsuspecting victim by convincing them that a family member is in need of urgent help. Unbeknownst to them, the call is actually coming from a scam artist using a voice clone of the loved one.

AI technology is advancing very quickly, making it extremely easy for fraudsters to clone a person’s voice with a small sample of their speech, which can be found all over the internet on social media. With this technology, the scammers can easily produce a clone of a person’s voice saying anything they want.

Currently, there are no local laws in Utah that protect victims from AI voice cloning scams. However, the FTC recommends that victims hang up on any suspicious calls and check with a reliable source before they provide any information or money. The best protection everyone has is to be aware that these scams exist and exercise caution at all times.

Brandon Amacher, an assistant professor at Utah Valley University’s (UVU) Center for National Security Studies and director of the Emerging Tech Policy Lab, said that with the amount of personal data people are giving away on social media, it’s increasingly important to be careful what information is being posted. Long videos with images and voice recordings can potentially be used to create voice clones, which has serious implications for society.

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Katie Hart, Director of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, noted that a cyber security commission had been formed in 2022 by the state government to “gather information and share best practices on cyber security.” However, this commission has yet to cover AI scams. Maggie Hutchens, a graduate of UVU’s cyber security studies program, said laws need to be created as soon as possible to prevent more people from being scammed by AI cloning.

It is essential to protect yourself against these scams by being informed and being aware of how personal data is being used. It is also important to be able to differentiate between what is real and what is fake.

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