In general, I love technology that makes it easier for me to communicate. But in the age of artificial intelligence, convenience can lead to deception — and trouble.
These days, most internet cameras are designed to steal personal financial information or cash. Stealing identifying information such as social security or bank account numbers is called “identity theft.”
According to a new report from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), “80% of identity theft victims are due to scams, and thieves are becoming more sophisticated in their tasks of stealing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from victims with 61% of victims being conducted through AI voice.
How can you protect yourself? This is what the Information and Communication Technology Center (ITRC) recommends:
Be wary of unsolicited offers, requests, and calls. Be alert when receiving unsolicited calls or messages offering tempting deals or requests for sensitive information. If an offer seems too good to be true, it is likely a scam.
Always check identities. Families concerned about AI voice scams, specifically those asking for ransom for a supposed kidnapping, can create a “safe word” that only family members know to use in an emergency. Before you panic, ask for a safe word. In addition, disprove the identity of the impostor with a challenge question whose answer they will not know unless they are that person.
Don’t share verification codes and set up two-factor authentication. Never disclose your Google Voice verification code, or any other authentication code, to anyone if you don’t contact them first, no matter the reason or urgency given. Additionally, enable two-factor authentication using an authenticator app instead of relying on SMS. This approach greatly enhances security because scammers can’t bypass two-factor authentication even if they associate your phone number with a Google Voice account or any other account.
Protect your contact information. Set your social media profiles to private and make sure you remove contact information from social media, daters, contact forms, and anywhere else you may have added your number over the years. The scammers only need a short amount of audio to replicate the audio using this technique. They can easily use social media videos or voicemail recordings to do so.
Monitor your credit and identity. Regularly monitor your credit reports, bank statements, and other financial accounts for possible suspicious activity. Report any unauthorized transactions or accounts immediately to the appropriate financial institutions. If suspicious activity occurs within your accounts, there is a good chance that other scammers have also targeted you.
Bottom line: Check who you’re with unless they’re a trusted contact. “Before sharing personal information or moving forward, verify the identity of the individual or organization requesting it. This can be done by contacting them independently through official channels or confirming their legitimacy through trusted sources.”