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  • Writer's pictureJosh Bocanegra

A.I. bringing back the ‘grandparent’ scam

Updated: May 4

A familiar scam is making a big comeback because of the emergence of AI voice cloning.  

Cyber security experts, like Indiana University Cyber Security program director Scott Shackelford, said artificial intelligence voice cloning technology is spreading like wildfire, and it’s helping bring back the “grandparent” scam. 

The scam involves a person who calls and pretends to be a loved one, like a grandchild, and claims to be in urgent need of help. That help is usually in the form of money wired to them.  The crook may claim to be in jail and in need of bail money, or they may say they were in an accident and then need money for a tow truck and an Uber.

These days, scammers who use this tactic can sound just like a family member if they’ve had a chance to sample their voice to synthesize it. Last month, police in Montreal busted 14 suspects in a “grandparent” scam ring who allegedly stole more than $2 million from victims across Canada.

Scammers who access to AI voice cloning technology only need a few seconds of a person’s voice over the phone to create a realistic simulation of it.  They can also sample your voice from videos you have up on social media.

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