Attorney General Mayes warns of AI voice-clone scams

Kris Mayes warned Arizonans this week that fraudsters are using voice clones to appear as friends and loved ones to defraud consumers.
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 1:04 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 11:51 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Attorney General Kris Mayes warned Arizonans this week that fraudsters are seemingly using voice clones to appear as friends and loved ones to defraud consumers.

“We’re really worried with the very fast evolution of this technology, and it has been so fast, that it is going to be increasingly used by these scammers as part of their fraud,” Mayes told On Your Side.

With rapid-evolving technology, scammers can use artificial intelligence (AI) to trick consumers into thinking a loved one is in trouble and needs money/gift cards. Some fraudsters may combine AI with spoofing equipment to make it seem like a call is coming from a familiar face.

Mayes says in some cases, scammers are also spoofing phone numbers, to make it appear as though calls are coming from loved ones. “A certain type of equipment that can spoof a phone number so it looks like the number you recognize and then they’re also essentially mimicking and cloning your voice, so combined, that can be devastating,” she said.

“We’re going to be looking at ways to hold AI programmers and platforms responsible for what happens on their platform,” Mayes told On Your Side. “This is a very new space, but AI companies have a responsibility to make sure that their technology is not being used to defraud Arizonans.”

The Attorney General provided tips to protect one’s self from falling victim to voice-clone AI scams:

  • Beware of any emergency call asking for money to be sent right away.
  • Don’t trust the voice or message, as voices can be imitated with AI.
  • Hang up and call your loved one through a trusted number to verify the call or text.
  • Consider establishing a word or phrase that only your loved one would know to verify their identity.
  • Beware of high-pressure scare tactics.
  • Beware of requests for payments through gift cards, person-to-person pay apps, etc.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of fraud, you can file a complaint at Contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tuscon at (520) 628-6648, or outside Phoenix/Tuscon metro areas at (800) 352-8431) if you need a complaint form sent to you.

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