FTC Warning: Scammers Cloning ‘Panicked’ Relative’s Voice in Phone Calls

The Feds warn Americans who get a panicked phone call requesting money from a ‘relative or loved one’ that it may be an AI-generated scam.

Warning of New Scam Involving “Your Relatives”

U.S. federal regulators have cautioned this week that a distressing phone call requesting money from a person who sounds identical to a family member or friend might be a scam using artificial intelligence.

On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission released an alert regarding voice cloning, a technique in which an unethical individual uses AI to deceive the individual on the opposite end of the phone call.

The federal agency provided an example where the targeted individual receives a call from someone who sounds like their grandson, in a state of panic, claiming that they have been involved in a car accident and have been arrested.

The caller then requests to be sent money in order to receive assistance.

Beware of a Suspicious Phone Call

Despite the caller sounding exactly like a relative or friend, the FTC advises consumers to be aware of the potential for voice cloning.

“All he needs is a short audio clip of your family member’s voice — which he could get from content posted online — and a voice-cloning program,” the FTC said in its notice. “When the scammer calls you, he’ll sound just like your loved one.”

The FTC said don’t trust the voice on the other end of the phone line in this scenario. 

“Call the person who supposedly contacted you and verify the story. Use a phone number you know is theirs,” the agency said. “If you can’t reach your loved one, try to get in touch with them through another family member or their friends.”

FTC Sends Grave Warning – Be Careful and Viligant!

According to the FTC, scammers commonly use various methods to request money, including wire transfers, cryptocurrency transactions, and gift card purchases. These methods make it challenging to retrieve lost funds.

The FTC warns that individuals who solicit card number and PIN information may also be indicative of a scam.

Consumers are asked to report any scam to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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