How to Protect Yourself from Imposter Scams Using AI

Imposter scams are a type of fraud where criminals pretend to be someone else, such as a law enforcement officer, a government official, or a family member, to trick people into giving them money or personal information. Imposter scams are not new, but they are becoming more sophisticated and convincing with the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is a technology that can create realistic images, sounds, and texts using data and algorithms. AI can be used for good purposes, such as enhancing education, health, and entertainment, but it can also be used for malicious purposes, such as creating fake identities, documents, and voices.

One example of an imposter scam using AI is when scammers contact unsuspecting people and claim that their bank accounts may be involved in financial fraud. The scammers then guide their targets through a series of steps, beginning with downloading what appears to be a harmless mobile app. The app generates what appear to be legitimate, legal-looking documents, that are personalized with the victim’s name. The app then prompts the victim to select their bank from a list and enter sensitive information, such as bank account numbers. But what the victim does not see is that the app is working in the background, blocking all incoming calls and text messages. This prevents the victim from receiving alerts from their bank about the suspicious activity, giving the scammers the perfect opportunity to steal money and information.

Another example of an imposter scam using AI is when scammers use voice cloning technology to create fake audio recordings of someone the victim knows, such as a family member, a friend, or a boss. The scammers then call the victim and use the fake voice to ask for money, personal information, or access to online accounts. The scammers may also use emotional manipulation, such as pretending to be in trouble, in need of help, or in danger, to pressure the victim into complying.

Scams Using AI

Imposter scams using AI are becoming more common and more difficult to detect, as the technology becomes more accessible and affordable. According to the US Federal Trade Commission, consumers lost almost $8.8 billion to imposter scams in 2023, up 44% from 2021. Imposter scams were also the number one type of fraud reported to the FTC Consumer Sentinel Network in 2023.

How to Avoid Imposter Scams Using AI

The best way to protect yourself from imposter scams using AI is to be alert and cautious when you receive any unexpected or unsolicited contact from someone who claims to be someone else. Here are some tips to help you avoid falling victim to these scams:

  • Do not trust caller ID or email addresses. Scammers can spoof or fake them to make them look like they are coming from a legitimate source. Always verify the identity of the caller or sender by contacting them directly using a known and trusted phone number or email address.
  • Do not download or open any attachments or links from unknown or suspicious sources. They may contain malware or spyware that can infect your device and steal your information. Only download or open files from trusted and verified sources.
  • Do not give out any personal or financial information over the phone, email, or text message. Scammers may ask you for your bank account number, social security number, credit card number, password, PIN, or other sensitive information. They may also ask you to confirm or verify your information. Do not provide or confirm any information unless you are sure of who you are talking to and why they need it.
  • Do not send money or gift cards to anyone you do not know or trust. Scammers may ask you to send money or gift cards to them or to someone else, such as a relative, a friend, or a charity. They may also ask you to pay a fee, a tax, a fine, or a ransom. Do not send any money or gift cards unless you are sure of who you are sending it to and why they need it.
  • Do not be pressured or rushed into making a decision. Scammers may use scare tactics, threats, or urgency to make you act quickly and without thinking. They may tell you that you have a limited time to act, that you are in trouble, that you will lose something, or that someone is in danger. Do not let them intimidate or manipulate you. Take your time and think before you act.

How to Report Imposter Scams Using AI

If you think you have been contacted by an imposter scammer using AI, or if you have fallen victim to one, you should report it as soon as possible. Reporting can help you recover your losses, protect your identity, and prevent others from being scammed. Here are some steps you can take to report imposter scams using AI:

  • Contact your bank or credit card company. If you have given out any financial information or sent any money or gift cards to the scammer, you should contact your bank or credit card company immediately. They may be able to stop or reverse the transaction, freeze your account, or issue a new card. They may also advise you on how to monitor your account for any suspicious activity.
  • Contact the authorities. You should report the scam to the local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies that deal with fraud and cybercrime. They may be able to investigate the scam, track down the scammer, and bring them to justice. Some of the agencies you can contact are:
    • The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can file a complaint online at or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
    • The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). You can file a complaint online at or call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).
    • The US Department of Justice (DOJ). You can file a complaint online at or call 1-202-514-2000.
    • Your state attorney general’s office. You can find their contact information at
    • Your local police department. You can find their contact information online or in the phone book.
  • Contact the platform or service. If the scammer contacted you through a phone, email, or social media platform, or used a service such as a mobile app, a website, or a voice cloning tool, you should contact the platform or service and report the scam. They may be able to block or remove the scammer’s account, warn other users, or take other actions to prevent further scams.

Imposter scams using AI are a serious and growing threat that can cause significant financial and emotional harm to consumers. By being aware, vigilant, and proactive, you can protect yourself and others from these scams and help stop the scammers.

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