Consumer Alert: Five red flags of an AI-generated scam

Consumer Alert: Red flags for AI-generated scams

Consumer Alert: Red flags for AI-generated scams

Imagine this scenario.  You get a phone call from your son telling you that you he’s been arrested and needs your help.  How would you respond?

That scam and versions of it are happening across the country. It’s really frightening.  And the scam is so successful because the thieves are using AI to replicate the voice of your son, daughter or grandchild.

You’ll remember in January, I told you about an incident when a police officer called News10 NBC anchor Lynette Adams, saying he was with Lynette’s daughter.

“So, he puts a person that’s supposed to be my daughter on the phone. And the person sounding like a young woman — and actually sounding just like my daughter,” Adams recalled.

But it wasn’t Lynette’s daughter. It was an AI-generated replica of Adams’s daughter. And the man on the phone wasn’t a police officer; he was a scammer.  Fortunately, Adams didn’t fall for it.  She did what I always advice consumers to do.  She hung up and called a family member directly to verify whether the call was real.  That was the advice experts also gave during a consumer protection zoom press conference I attended Tuesday morning.

“Fraudsters pretending to be friends or family members in distress seek to stir up your emotions,” said Judy Weinstock, assistant regional director of the New York regional office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “No matter how urgent the plea, especially when accompanied by directives like ‘don’t tell my parents, spouse or roommate,’ take time to verify the information before agreeing to transfer money or securities out of your investment account.”

Here are five red flags of an AI-generated scam:

  • The caller asks you not to tell anyone.
  • The caller wants you to pay by cryptocurrency, wire transfer or gift cards.
  • In AI video scams, the lips and audio may not match.
  • The video quality may be poor.
  • Often the eyes blink in an unnatural pattern.

As I showed in you my investigation, “Scams for Sale,” AI video scams impersonating celebrities are especially prevalent.

AI has opened a whole new world for scammers, causing us to doubt even what we can see and hear.  That’s why it’s important that no matter how urgent the situation may seem, think before you act.