Protecting yourself from AI Driven Scams

Sophie Grosvenor February 23rd 2024 - 4 minute read

Keeping you and your money safe is our top priority, and we have stringent safeguarding measures in place to help protect all our customers. But there are also steps you need to take to protect yourself from fraud.

To help you identify potential scams and stay safe, we’re publishing a series of articles on fraud protection. This article looks at scams which incorporate the use of artificial intelligence.

What are AI driven scams?

AI fraud is when someone uses artificial intelligence, including programmes such as ChatGPT to scam people out of money and private data. These scams often convince the recipient in the form of highly realistic phishing emails, text messages and social media pages. Ever evolving forms of technology also enable artificial intelligence users to clone voices or create ‘deep fake’ digital software images and videos.

Scammers will often use this software to create convincing messages from banks, employers and even loved ones, urging money to be sent, or seemingly innocent links to be clicked, only to lead the unwilling victim towards financial or security risks.

An example of an AI driven scam

Sophie had recently helped her daughter Ella pay for some driving lessons. She was over the moon when Ella passed her test, and she shared a proud photo of the newly passed driver onto her Facebook page.

When Sophie received a phone call a few weeks later saying that Ella had been in a road accident and urgently needed some money for repairs on the car, she didn’t hesitate to help her distressed daughter. Sophie sent a large sum of money to a garage, whose details Ella had provided her with over the phone.

When Sophie saw Ella and her car later that day, both without a scratch, she was confused about why Ella had called her in such a panic. Unbelievably, Ella then assured her mother that she had never made that phone call. It was a fake, and Sophie had sent her money to a scammer.

The scammer had used a startling new AI tool to clone Ella’s voice and contact her mother, using the increasingly common ‘family scam’ tactic. The scammer had also seen Sophie’s recent Facebook post, allowing them to quickly and easily gather information in order to manipulate Sophie.

Five tips on how to protect yourself from AI driven fraud

  1. Verify any unrecognised senders

Convincing phishing emails and fake text messages/phone calls are on the rise as new software allows scammers to curate online data in order to create highly realistic and persuasive messages. As these messages become more convincing, it becomes harder for victims to spot the tell-tale signs of fraud, such as grammar and spelling mistakes.

Even if the sender appears legitimate, approach unsolicited contact with a healthy level of scepticism. You might receive an email from a well-known organisation, such as a bank, that at first glance appears authorised.

However, the safest way to avoid falling victim to AI fraud is to first make contact via a verified telephone number before proceeding. Many scammers use email addresses that are almost identical to those registered by private businesses. Remain cautious until the organisation can confirm or deny legitimacy.

  1. Watch out for unexpected links and attachments

You might receive an unexpected link or attachment in your email inbox but think twice before clicking. Scammers are using artificial intelligence to distribute harmful links and downloads, that once clicked can download nasty viruses or malware onto your device.

This may be all a scammer needs to gain access to your personal data and steal information from your accounts.

  1. Look out for a sense of immediacy

In the case above, ‘family scams’ may be hard to spot, as they play on the vulnerability and trust between loved ones.

However, watch out for an unusual sense of urgency, or an out of character request. The use of nontraditional forms of payment or requests for money to be sent to a bank account other than that of your relative can be a red flag in these instances as well.

If you’re not convinced that who you’re speaking with is who they claim to be, hang up and call back on a verified phone number to double check.

  1. Secure your devices and accounts

The simple yet highly effective method of using a secure passphrase to access various accounts and devices can help protect you from new methods of AI driven fraud.

Using a password that incorporates a mixture of numbers, letters and characters will help you to optimise basic security measures, making it harder for scammers to gain access to your personal data.

The use of multi-factor authentication is also on the rise for many online services. This access management security method requires users to provide two or more consecutive forms of identification in order to gain access to data and resources, minimising the likelihood of an unwanted third party getting through.

  1. Keep your software up to date

AI can detect outdated and poorly secured devices by identifying specific software and security vulnerabilities.

Keep your devices software up to date to minimise the risk of cyber-attacks from AI scammers.

If someone targets you

If someone has gained access to your online accounts, financial information, computer or personal data, you will need to report this immediately.

You can report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or by using their online reporting tool, and you can report it to the FCA. You should also contact your bank to report that you have fallen victim to fraud, to reinforce your online security measures. If the transfer has not yet occurred, the bank may be able to block it, though this is not guaranteed.

If you suspect someone is trying to scam you using AI via phishing emails, you can send it on to Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): report@phishing.gov.uk. Similarly, if you receive a text message that you feel concerned about, you can forward it to 7726.

More information on AI driven scams

As the digital age continues to expand and evolve, AI scams will likely become more common in the coming years. Keep in mind the organisations mentioned above, which are constantly on the lookout for ways to combat and protect people from these scams, as well as taking a look at Finra’s website for additional support on how to avoid falling victim to AI fraudsters.

You can also check the Financial Conduct Authority’s Register and Warning List for additional information on how financial markets are fighting against AI driven fraud, on their website.

You may also find our articles on other types of fraud, such as identity or investment fraud of fraud useful to help you stay safe online.

Finally, we’re always more than happy to help our customers. Keep your information secure using our tips above and don’t hesitate to contact us at Currencies Direct for any advice or support regarding your Currencies Direct funds.

Written by
Sophie Grosvenor

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