How to Protect Yourself from Deepfake AI Scam Calls

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With tremendous advancements in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Generative AI impersonation scam calls have become a huge problem nowadays. Scammers use AI to generate deepfake audio, that sounds like a realistic copy of your voice and makes it sound like you are in a state of distress. This entraps your loved ones to believe that you need help and they fall prey, most of the time resulting in monetary loss.

AI is increasingly becoming a part of human’s day-to-day life and while some of its features and advantageous, some land in the hands of bad faith people who misuse it to defraud innocents. Using deepfake algorithms allows anyone to replicate your voice and makes you say whatever you want, ultimately stealing money from your known ones. Not only audio but manipulated images, and videos can be made as well.

Vijay Balasubramaniyan, co-founder & CEO of Pindrop, a voice authentication and security company says, “Consumers should be cautious of unsolicited calls saying a loved one is in harm or messages asking for personal information, particularly if they involve financial transactions.”

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There are a few ways using which one can protect himself/herself from the Deepfake AI Scam Calls-

1. Look for long pauses and signs of a distorted voice

Deepfakes need the attacker to type sentences which are then converted into the target’s voice. This takes a few seconds and thus leads to long pauses during the call. These pauses are unsettling to the listener if the request is urgent and has emotional manipulation. However, these long pauses are a sign of a deepfake system being used to synthesize speech. One should carefully listen to the voice on the other end and if the voice sounds artificial or distorted in any way, it is a definite sign of a deepfake. Also, look for unusual speech patterns or unfamiliar accents.

2. Be skeptical of unexpected or out-of-character requests

If you receive a call or a message that seems out of character for the person you know or the organization contacting you, it could be a fake call. If you are subjected to emotional manipulation and high-pressure tactics that compel you to help, hang up immediately and call back the contact using a known phone number.

3. Verify the identity of the caller

Always ask for the caller’s personal information or verify their identity using a separate channel or method, such as an official website or an email. This will help you confirm that the caller is who they claim to be and reduce the risk of fraud.

4. Stay informed about the latest deepfake technology

Remain up to date with the latest developments in voice deepfake technology and how fraudsters are using it to commit crimes. By staying informed, you can better protect yourself against potential threats.

5. Sound replicas can be made from social media updates

To create a realistic copy of the target’s voice, scammers only need their audio data to train the algorithm. They get this from our post updates regarding our daily lives on social media platforms. The audio data gets accessible only because you have uploaded an audio sample on social media. The larger the amount of data, the better and more convincing copy is. So try and post less audio and video data on public platforms.

6. Voice-generating software analyzes several elements of sound bytes

AI voice-generating tools examine what distinguishes a person’s voice, including age, gender, and accent, and search a massive database of voices to find similar ones and predict patterns. After this, they recreate the pitch, timbre, and individual sounds of one’s voice for replication purposes. These tools only need short samples of audio, which scammers import from TV commercials, podcasts, TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram.

7. Scammers can impersonate your loved ones

Please bear in mind that anyone with access to your audio data could use a deepfake algorithm to make you say whatever they want. It is as simple as typing some text and having the computer read it aloud in what appears to be your voice. A scammer can pose as anyone trustworthy- a child, parent, or friend- and persuade the victim to send them money because the former is in trouble.

8. Victims are often elderly people

These scammers mostly target the elderly thus convincing them that their loved ones are in distress. Just imagine, a caller sounding exactly like a friend or family member and claiming to be in danger. This can add a whole new level of complication and panic to the unfortunate recipient’s life. Elders are often gullible and they get scared thinking about the safety of their loved ones.

9. Be cautious when you receive calls from unknown numbers

The most common tactic used in AI scam calls is to dupe victims into paying a ransom to save a loved one who they believe is in danger. If you get an unknown call, wherein the caller sounds exactly like your family member and asks for money or makes unusual requests, hang up and call/text them on their known number to cross-check. Always be skeptical of unknown numbers.

How does this Algorithm actually work?

With a short audio sample of just a few sentences, scammers can replicate a voice and make the swindler speak whatever they want.

The task needs no expensive tools, only a slew of cheap tools that are available online. Anyone in possession of your audio recordings can use deepfake algorithms to create a realistic copy of your voice.

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Shivangi AgarwalShivangi Agarwal
Shivangi is an honours graduate in English from Delhi University with a passion for reading and writing. Always keen to know more about the latest gadgets, when she is not reading about tech, she loves listening to Hindi music and grooving to the latest Hindi beats.

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