Voice cloning: the new AI-backed scam

AI is advancing into scams/Shutterstock Images

Experts are sounding the alarm about some of the latest developments in scams that use deepfake AI. Scammers use the technology and things like social media or phone calls to pretend to be you.

New artificial intelligence technology is being used to generate imitations or clones of people’s real voices.

“There’s a new threat that’s been going around that is voice phishing,” said Andy Taylor, CEO of TechTalk Radio. “What scammers are doing now is using deepfake AI voice technology, recording a voice, and with not that much, they can go ahead and recreate that person’s voice, that tone, the whole bit to make it sound like somebody.”

“So, you might get a phone call that says, ‘hey, I need some help.’ You say, ‘okay, what kind of help?’ Then they’ve got an AI. The person’s not saying it. It’s a recreation of their voice saying they need money or they need you to mail them gift cards, or the whole bit. And it sounds like it’s coming from you,” he explained.

As technology advances, more scams are coming directly to you through your devices. Taylor says it’s getting more difficult to tell what’s real and what’s fake, especially with one of the latest tactics that uses deepfake AI. The technology can use pictures or videos from social media and even recreate your voice from something as small as your voicemail message.

Last month saw the beta phase of ElevenLabs’ voice synthesis platform, which allowed users to generate realistic audio of any person’s voice by uploading a few minutes of audio samples and typing in any text for it to say.

The startup says the technology was developed to dub audio in different languages for movies, audiobooks and gaming to preserve the speaker’s voice and emotions.

Social media users quickly began sharing an AI-generated audio sample of Hillary Clinton reading the same transphobic text featured in the Biden clip, along with fake audio clips of Bill Gates supposedly saying that the COVID-19 vaccine causes AIDS and actress Emma Watson purportedly reading Hitler’s manifesto “Mein Kampf.”

When in doubt, experts recommend you question everything that comes to your device, whether it’s a call, text or email. If you have concerns that a call you received is a scam, you should report it to law enforcement. This will also help them keep up with the latest tactics.

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