TECH NEWS – Just a few seconds of audio from us on social media, and they can exploit the naivety of unsuspecting family members…
Almost all of us have received fraudulent phishing emails, or even phone calls, telling us that something has happened to a family member and we should immediately transfer some money. Not everyone can see through it, and this is not meant as an insult but merely a statement of fact. According to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), artificial intelligence could complicate this situation. Bloomberg reported what FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan said at an event.
She says that as AI-related tools develop, we must be on the lookout early because they could improve fraud. Scammers can take voice samples from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tiktok and train AI with them, and with TTS programs (which generate speech from text), they can trick us with the voice of a desperate family member. For example, they ask for money to get home or out of jail. So it’s the usual, and you can add to that, for example, an accident, and they would pay for hospital treatment. All of it is fiction, of course.
Khan fears that the development of voice impersonation technology could lead to more harmful activities and fraud, leading to disadvantageous situations regarding civil rights, fair competition, equal opportunities, and consumer protection. According to the FTC, there were 5,100 reports of phone scams in 2022, resulting in losses of about $11 million. That’s peanuts compared to the $8.8 billion in losses from all fraud (30% higher than the 2021 figure). US laws crack down on impersonators, but that doesn’t slow down the scammers, but in return, it makes it easier to report cases.
In a joint statement on AI with the Department of Justice in April, Khan wrote: “Technological advances can deliver critical innovation—but claims of innovation must not be cover for lawbreaking. There is no AI exemption to the laws on the books, and the FTC will vigorously enforce the law to combat unfair or deceptive practices or unfair methods of competition.” That’s how it should be done.