Be aware of Artificial intelligence phone scams

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Currently, one of the most widespread scams involves fraudsters using Artificial Intelligence (AI) voice cloning technology to obtain your personal and financial information. AI scams use the art of deception, impersonating the voice or tone of personal contacts to try to steal your personal information or money.

Fraudsters typically use audio samples to mimic the voice of a family member in distress. The familiar voice details a fake emergency requiring you to give them money quickly.

We know your first instinct is to help your loved ones, but we want to give you the tools to help defend your finances!

What is the AI phone scam experience?

Picture this: you get a call from an unknown number, and on the other end is an AI-cloned voice that sounds like a family member or friend. They tell you a story about being in a jam and plead for you to send cash right away.

For example, imagine your “grandson” is calling:

“Hey, Grandma, I got into some trouble with the cops, and I need $2000. Please go to the bank, get the money, and don’t tell anyone.”

Though the voice on the phone sounded like your grandson, it was a computer using AI to simulate your grandson’s voice.

Who do they target?

This scam has been dubbed “The grandparent scam” as it often targets seniors (with the fraudster posing as their grandchildren). Seniors are more likely to answer the phone when fraudsters call. Fraudsters attempt to exploit the grandparents trusting nature and their desire to help loved ones in times of crisis.

How do you avoid AI scams?

1. First, always be careful about sharing any personal details over the phone. Your Social Insurance Number (SIN), account information, and passwords are private and should not be easily given out.

2. If someone claiming to be your grandson calls you to communicate a message like the one above, end the call and call them back directly using their personal number to confirm the validity of the call.

3. Gather your family in person and create a secret code word. This code word can be used to help you validate the caller’s true identity if you are unsure.
For example, if your grandson is calling urgently to request large sums of money, ask for the pre-established secret code word (ex. banana) to validate his identity.

4. Fraudsters may ask you to use unexpected methods to send money such as wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or gift cards. Do not do this.

Keeping informed about AI scams can protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to tactics from AI-powered fraudsters. Share this article with your grandparents and have a conversation to protect them and their finances.

Your safety is our number one priority, so if you have any questions, please reach out to your local credit union.

To educate yourself on current scams, check out the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre. (