Artificial intelligence (AI) has quickly reshaped many aspects of everyday life. As it continues to evolve and be normalized, criminals are finding creative new ways to wield AI as a weapon against our personal information and finances. The more aware you are of these tactics, the safer you can be from them. Here are three new AI scams to look out for in 2024 as well as some tips to help protect yourself and stay prepared for the explosive development of AI.
Deepfakes are the core of all new AI scams to look out for in 2024. These are convincing AI-generated videos and audio created using a powerful technology called deep learning. Deep learning technology analyzes tons of existing images or audio of a target and then uses that knowledge to create new, artificial content. Deep fakes can swap faces, manipulate expressions, and even generate voices that sound exactly like someone else’s.
These sophisticated scams exploit our inherent trust in familiar faces and voices, making them dangerous tools for fake news, celebrity endorsements, and social engineering scams. They can be used to impersonate your friends, family members, or even financial institution representatives. Imagine receiving a video call from your “bank manager” urging you to share sensitive financial information.
Scammers can also leverage deepfakes to exploit your fears and vulnerabilities. A video featuring a tearful child could be used to solicit donations for a fabricated charity, while a deepfaked news report about an impending financial crisis could be used to pressure you into hasty financial decisions.
There are even emerging “deepfake marketplaces” on the dark web where scammers can illegally purchase custom-made deepfakes for targeted attacks. These carry out attacks like spreading misinformation or impersonating someone for financial gain.
Scammers have begun leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to make phishing scams more convincing and impactful. AI-powered phishing attacks use real-time data mining to craft personalized messages, emails, and even live phone calls with familiar voices.
AI-powered phishing websites adapt to your browsing habits, displaying content relevant to your recent searches. This increased level of personalization makes it even harder to distinguish legitimate emails from deceptive ones.
Phishing scammers also can use deepfake technology to generate voices that sound eerily familiar, mirroring the voices of your family and colleagues. These “voice clones” can trick you into divulging sensitive information or performing financial transactions. Be cautious of unexpected phone calls, and never share personal information unless you can verify the caller’s identity through a trusted channel.
Robo-scammers use automated technology (robocalls, robotexts, or other automated messaging systems) for all kinds of scams, such as impersonation scams, financial scams, debt collection scams, and tech support scams. Because their scams are automated, and deepfake technology allows them to pose as anyone, robo-scammers can reach millions of people simultaneously, making them incredibly lucrative for the scammers and potentially devastating for their victims.
Robo-scammers’ conversational scams can include pre-recorded messages, voice synthesis, and automated chatbots. They use these methods to impersonate legitimate institutions such as banks, debt collectors, tech support representatives, or even someone you know personally.
How to Stay Safe Against 2024 AI Scams:
As technology evolves, you must be more aware and skeptical of everything on the internet and even off the internet. Critical thinking is key; don’t trust everything you see, hear, or read online. Question the source, the urgency, and the emotional appeal of any online interaction.
General online security standards are also non-negotiable. Use strong passwords, enable multi-factor authentication, and keep your software and devices up-to-date. Limit your online sharing, be cautious about permissions, and regularly review your privacy settings on any online platform.
Offline, be skeptical of unsolicited phone calls. If you receive a call from your bank with an agent asking for sensitive information, hang up and call your bank back directly. If you receive a call from a loved one from an unknown number asking for money or wanting you to do something with urgency, verify you’re actually talking to that person.
One good way to do this is to create a “family safe word” only your loved one would know, so you can ensure you are really speaking to them in the case of an emergency.
The Future of AI Scams and Countermeasures:
The battle against AI scams is ongoing. Security experts are continuing to develop AI-powered detection tools and countermeasures to keep up with the rapid advancement of AI. This development and responsible use of this technology are crucial to prevent its misuse for malicious purposes. AI has already left a permanent mark on culture and industry, and it will only continue to grow.
Rather than avoiding AI, the safest response to this growth is to seek to understand it so you can use it responsibly and identify when it is misused. Knowledge of AI and strong critical thinking skills are invaluable tools in defending yourself from AI scams.
As AI evolves, so do scam tactics, raising new online security challenges. The emergence of deepfakes poses a serious threat, exploiting our trust in familiar faces and voices for various malicious purposes. AI-powered phishing attacks have become more sophisticated, using real-time data mining to craft personalized and convincing messages while robo-scammers leverage automation and deepfake technology to impersonate legitimate entities on a massive scale. Safely avoiding these 2024 AI scams requires enhanced awareness, critical thinking, and general online security standards.
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