Artificial Intelligence and avoiding scams
As technology continues to advance at a dizzying pace, scammers have found a new way to exploit vulnerable people using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
What is AI?
AI, or Artificial Intelligence, refers to machines being able to do things that humans can do with their minds. It includes many abilities like understanding, thinking, learning, and solving problems. AI technology aims to make machines think like humans by processing and analysing a lot of data, finding patterns, making decisions, and acting like humans do.
There has been a lot said about AI in the news and elsewhere. People are worried if it will cause unemployment or create bias in hiring staff or approving bank loans.
Worryingly, there are more and more reports of AI being used to scam unsuspecting and vulnerable people.
How do scammers use AI?
Scammers use AI to personalise their scams to target people especially those in vulnerable situation. By collecting information from online sources like the internet or social media, they can create realistic personal stories that play on your emotions. This is particularly effective with some stroke survivors who may feel lonely and isolated, and are more likely to respond to messages that seem to be personally tailored to their situation.
Chatbots are AI-powered programs built to simulate human conversation. Scammers use chatbots to engage the unsuspecting person in conversations, gain personal information, and extract money from them by requesting donations. People who are socially isolated, often rely on online communities for support and friendship, making them more vulnerable to chatbot-based scams.
You may have to use chatbots when contacting your bank or other company through a website. Never divulge financial or personal information unless you are sure you are dealing with the organisation you intend to contact. Banks will never ask you to divulge passwords or PIN numbers in a chat or to any of their staff.
Deepfake technology is a computer-assisted method used to manipulate images, audio or videos to create made up content. AI is now so advanced that it can identify people from their images on the internet and create voice matches. Scammers use this to create fake videos or voice notes pretending to be a loved one. They may ask for financial assistance claiming to be in an emergency. They could also pretend to be a trusted official, such as a bank employee, to get personal financial information from you. People who may have impaired decision-making abilities, can be more susceptible to such manipulations.
If you get a call, text or voice note from someone claiming to be a loved one in an emergency ask them a question only the real person would know. If you suspect something's not quite right, end the communication.
Try to get hold of the real person using another channel.
If it's a video call pay attention to the small details. Is their skin really smooth or overly wrinkly? Does their hairline match movements with their jawline when they speak?
Scammers have found new ways to exploit vulnerable stroke survivors using AI technology. As stroke survivors and caregivers, it is essential to be aware of how they work. This can help mitigate the damage or avoid it in the first place. Always verify the identity of the person contacting you and be cautious about providing sensitive information.
If you're unsure about the authenticity of an online message or website, speak to someone you trust. Scammers rely on a victim's sense of shame that prevents them reporting a crime. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a scam, report the incident to the proper authorities.
Information and support
If you feel you may have been a victim of such scams, end all communication immediately and call your bank. They will advise you on what to do next. If you are in the UK and you aren't sure what number to call, you can call the hotline number 159 which is an easier way to contact your bank about fraud. You can also contact your local Citizens Advice who can offer help.
Action Fraud is a website set up by the police where you can also seek advice on how to report fraud or cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The site also offers advice on how to spot fraudulent activity.
Speak to family and those close to you if you are concerned that someone is trying to scam you. Scammers won't want you getting a second opinion as it interferes with their plan to get you to part with your money as quickly as possible.
Although AI might sound scary there are lots of ways it can benefit us so don't let the scammers give it a bad name. As long as you take a moment before making any decisions you have a very good chance of outwitting them.