Friday, March 1, 2024

AI Video Call Scams on the Rise: 5 Essential Steps to Stay Secure

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Cyber fraud is becoming more common worldwide. India, where a large number of people use smartphones and make online payments, is particularly vulnerable to these fraudulent activities. Scammers are constantly coming up with new and clever tactics to deceive individuals and take their money.

They employ a wide range of tricks, such as pretending to be bank employees, using false information on Google Maps to mislead people, sending deceptive text messages, and more. These tactics are designed to exploit the trust and reliance people have on digital platforms.

One of the latest and most concerning developments in this field is the use of AI-powered technology for WhatsApp video call scams. Scammers are using artificial intelligence to impersonate trusted individuals or institutions and manipulate video calls to deceive people into giving away their money or personal information. This underscores the need for increased awareness and vigilance in the digital age to protect oneself from such scams.

Scammers have come up with a fresh and cunning way to deceive people, and it revolves around exploiting the WhatsApp video call feature. In this scheme, scammers make video calls from unfamiliar numbers. If you answer the call, you’ll see the face of someone who looks just like a close family member or friend—maybe your spouse, parent, best buddy, or another person you trust. These scammers utilize AI technology to replicate the same appearance and voice as your loved ones. During the video call, they typically concoct a story where they desperately need money, capitalizing on your trust to convince you to send them money.

Kislay Choudhary, who advises Delhi Police on cybercrime, has noted a rise in cases involving fraud through WhatsApp video calls in Delhi. He shared an example where a woman received a video call from an unknown WhatsApp number. The call displayed her husband’s face and voice, and he urgently asked for a transfer of Rs 2 lakh. The woman complied and became a victim of the scam. According to The Future Crime Research Foundation (FCRF), an organization connected with IIT Kanpur, 18% of such cases originate from Bharatpur, Rajasthan, with Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, closely following in the list of affected areas.

In yet another case, a man found himself in a similar situation. He got a video call from a close friend who not only looked like their usual self but also sounded just like them. This friend urgently requested Rs 85,000, and the victim, trusting the situation, sent the money, falling victim to cyber fraud. What makes this new method particularly effective is that people tend to trust video calls, making them more vulnerable to losing significant amounts of money.

Kislay Choudhary points out that cybercriminals begin by gathering extensive information about their targets from social media. Afterward, they use AI technology to recreate someone’s appearance and voice. To protect yourself from falling for cyber fraud, Choudhary advises individuals to be cautious when receiving video calls from unfamiliar numbers. He suggests hanging up such calls and making a regular voice call to verify the caller’s identity. Staying vigilant is crucial to shield yourself from these evolving scams.

scammers are using ever more sophisticated methods to exploit our trust and vulnerability. The rise of AI-powered scams involving WhatsApp video calls is a concerning trend, with fraudsters impersonating loved ones to trick individuals into sending them money. The trust we place in the faces and voices on our screens can be easily manipulated, making us susceptible to substantial financial losses. It’s essential to remain vigilant and cautious, particularly when answering video calls from unknown numbers. Cybersecurity experts like Kislay Choudhary emphasize the importance of verifying identities through regular voice calls to ensure our safety in the digital world. As the battle against cyber fraud evolves, so must our awareness and defenses to protect our hard-earned money and personal information.

How to avoid getting sammed by AI Videocall scams?

1. Verify the identity

When you receive a message, call, or request for money, take the time to verify the identity of the person or organization making the request. Scammers often impersonate trusted entities, so it’s essential to double-check. You can do this by using a different communication method, not the one the message came from, to contact the person and confirm the request. This simple step can prevent you from falling victim to an impersonation scam.

2. Beware of unknown contacts

Be cautious when dealing with unfamiliar numbers or contacts, particularly if they ask for personal or financial information. Scammers often exploit the anonymity of unknown contacts to perpetrate fraud. If you’re not sure about the legitimacy of the communication, it’s safer to exercise caution and refrain from sharing sensitive information.

3. Secure your personal information

Limit the amount of personal information you share online, especially on social media. Scammers often use information readily available on your social profiles to personalize their scams. Protect your privacy by being selective about the details you share, and review your privacy settings on social platforms to control who can access your information.

4. Use strong, unique passwords

Protect your online accounts by creating strong, unique passwords for each one. A strong password includes a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. To manage these passwords effectively, consider using a password manager, which not only helps you generate and store secure passwords but also simplifies the process of login. Additionally, enable two-factor authentication wherever possible to add an extra layer of security to your accounts.

5. Educate yourself

Stay informed about common scams and fraud techniques. Scammers are continuously adapting and devising new tactics, so arming yourself with knowledge is a powerful defense. Keep an eye on the latest scam alerts and news about cyber threats in your region. Understanding the schemes scammers use can help you recognize and avoid them, ultimately safeguarding your financial well-being and personal information.

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