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5 tips to help you avoid AI-based scams

Date: 19 June 2023

4 minute read

With the rise of AI, scams could become more difficult to detect as fraudsters start using AI software to improve their attempts. This tempered with the worries of a cost-of-living crisis could present a challenging environment for consumers to keep their money safe. With this in mind we’ve looked at what the recent AI-based trends and habits are for scammers featuring AI, and we’ve come up with some top tips to help you feel more confident about keeping other people out of your accounts.

Tip 1. Generative voice mimicking scams

These scams involve using AI systems to imitate a person’s voice oner the ‘phone. If used in combination with stolen data, this can be highly effective at fooling the person receiving the call. This can be used to impersonate you to a service provider, or to impersonate someone you would tend to trust, like your financial adviser, to call you and gather details to help the scammer build a more plausible false version of your identity.

You can protect yourself from this type of impersonation by:

  • questioning any unusual requests
  • being careful not to give away personal information unless you are confident you are talking to the right person.

If you are uncertain, you can ask the caller to verify their identity by sending you a communication in another medium, such as an email, or you could call them back using a number from a trusted source, such as the company website.

Tip 2. AI-generated email scams

Sophisticated AI systems can write convincing scam emails, meaning the old red flags like poor grammar or spelling mistakes could become obsolete. The cost for the scammers to use this type of system is low, giving it the potential to become a common form of scam.

If you have any doubts about emails you have received:

  • check the sender’s email address against your own records
  • if it’s from a financial adviser (for example) check their website to see the true address

if you have received an unexpected financial request contact the alleged sender by another medium, the best option being to ring them as soon as you can.

Tip 3. Data breach exploitation

When a data breach occurs AI can capitalise on leaked information very quickly, targeting the most vulnerable – often this can be older people who are often less familiar with technological matters.

Here are some good practices to keep you as safe as possible from the effects of data breaches:

  • update your passwords regularly – see our tips to improve your password security
  • don’t use the same password for several websites/services
  • consider using an identity theft protection service.

Tip 4. AI phishing scams

As well as fake emails directly asking you for money (see tip 2) AI has made phishing scams more sophisticated as well. Phishing is the name for sending emails designed to make the recipient part with useful information. Requests may appear innocuous as they may only be looking for a single piece of information, such as your post code, but when several of these pieces have been gathered the scammers have a workable basis to impersonate you. Think of it as identity theft a little piece at a time.

To protect yourself from phishing scams:

  • Always check the source of any requests you receive by email

If you are uncertain about an email wait and seek a second opinion before responding. Any legitimate request will not insist on your urgent action.

Tip 5. Deepfake video scams

AI brings the ability to make images or videos using the likeness of someone without their permission. This can mean that scammers can produce false images to lend credibility to their claims. Consider how many images and videos there are of anyone even remotely well-known you can find with a simple Google search – with that enormous database available there is plenty of opportunity to create a fake endorsement.

With all of these types of scams one of the key defences is your instincts and judgement. A common phrase in the financial industry is “trust but verify” and this is as important for you as our customer as it is for us as a service provider.

If you have received an email claiming to be from us that you are not sure of, ring or email us using the details on your last statement rather than anything in the email itself, and we can verify it for you. We also have a page listing our official websites and email addresses which you can check against the sender’s address. A single character different is enough for it to be untrustworthy.

Stay safe from scams

For more tips on how to stay safe online and from scams, visit our ‘Stay safe’ webpages.

Stay safe from scams