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Facing the challenge of AI scam calls

Imagine you get a call seeming to be from the president of the United States urgently telling you not to vote in the upcoming election. That’s precisely what happened to voters in New Hampshire earlier this year. They received robocalls with the voice on the other end claiming to be President Joe Biden, urging them to skip the state's primary election and save their vote for the November election. 

The prevalence of AI scams, exemplified by the deep-fake call impersonating President Joe Biden, shows how this is a growing threat, with fraudsters capitalizing on large-scale events, like a general presidential election, to deceive unsuspecting individuals.   

These scams also significantly impact businesses, and AI impersonations can damage a business’s reputation as customers lose confidence in the authenticity of communications. 

Whether your business has been impersonated by AI voice cloning or you are taking proactive measures against these scams, it is essential to understand how it all works. Explore the tactics employed by scammers and what you can do to safeguard your business.

How do AI scams work?

AI voice cloning, or deep voice synthesis or voice synthesis technology, employs advanced machine learning algorithms to replicate a person's voice with remarkable accuracy. These algorithms analyze audio data from the target speaker, extracting pitch, tone, cadence, and pronunciation nuances.

As AI technology advances, scammers need minimal audio data to create a fake audio message. In some cases, even publicly available recordings or snippets from social media platforms can be sufficient for generating a believable fake audio message. As a result, scammers can exploit this technology to perpetrate impersonation scams without extensive access to the target's voice recordings.

AI scams leverage advanced technology to deceive victims, exploiting vulnerabilities for financial gain. Scammers utilize various tactics to manipulate victims into sending them money. For example:

  • Impersonation: Scammers may impersonate trusted individuals using AI-generated voice or text messages. By mimicking familiar voices or personas, they exploit victims' trust and coerce them into taking urgent action, such as sending money to resolve fabricated emergencies.

  • Social engineering: Scammers manipulate victims emotionally and psychologically by crafting compelling narratives that evoke fear or sympathy and create a sense of urgency. AI-generated messages enhance the believability of these narratives, increasing the likelihood of victim compliance.

  • Phishing: AI-powered phishing scams involve sending fraudulent emails, text messages, or voice calls that appear legitimate to trick recipients. Advanced AI algorithms enable scammers to personalize these messages, making them more convincing and difficult to identify as fraudulent.

  • Fake investment opportunities: Scammers may use AI-generated videos or audio recordings to promote phony investment opportunities with promises of high returns. By leveraging sophisticated multimedia manipulation techniques, they create the illusion of legitimacy, enticing victims to invest money in fraudulent schemes.

  • Tech support scams: AI-powered voice assistants or chatbots may be used in tech support scams to deceive victims into believing they have technical issues with their devices. Scammers exploit victims' lack of technical knowledge to gain remote access to devices, allowing them to install malware or steal personal information.

To combat these scams, individuals should verify the identity of unknown callers or senders and exercise caution when responding to unsolicited messages or requests for money. Organizations can also implement robust security measures and educate employees about the risks of AI-powered scams. This can help protect your business from being impersonated and ultimately losing customers' trust.

How AI scams affect your business

AI scam calls don't just target individuals but also pose significant business risks. These scams can damage a company's reputation and erode customer trust, often resulting in financial losses. Business entities may face impersonation attempts targeting executives or employees, leading to fraudulent transactions or data breaches. 

Tactics like AI-generated phishing attacks and voice cloning techniques can deceive employees into divulging sensitive information or granting unauthorized access to corporate systems. As the sophistication of AI scams increases, businesses must remain vigilant and implement robust cybersecurity measures to mitigate the impact of these threats.

Endangered caller identity

AI scammers possess the capability to impersonate businesses, exploiting their identities to perpetrate fraudulent activities. According to Hiya's State of the Call Report 2023, one in three companies has had their name used by an impersonator making scam calls. This demonstrates the significant risk posed to businesses as consumers question the legitimacy of caller identities. 

When consumers receive impersonated calls, they often negatively perceive the legitimate businesses or organizations involved. Only 27% of consumers reported that receiving an impersonated call didn't negatively impact their opinion of the legitimate business or organization. Such incidents can diminish customer trust and lead to financial repercussions. Businesses can even suffer legal consequences and regulatory scrutiny for failing to prevent unauthorized use of their identities in scam calls. 

Reduced answer rates

The surge in scam activities — particularly those involving the impersonation of businesses — fosters fear and skepticism among consumers, with 34% of customers being suspicious of calls from businesses that have been impersonated. This heightened caution prompts individuals to hesitate or outright avoid answering calls from unfamiliar or potentially compromised numbers. As a result, legitimate businesses may experience lower answer rates when attempting to contact customers. 

This decline in engagement affects revenue generation and undermines customer trust and satisfaction. Over time, businesses risk losing valuable customer engagement and market competitiveness due to the negative impact of scam activities on communication effectiveness and brand perception.

Investing in AI scam prevention

Investing in enhanced cybersecurity measures is crucial for businesses, as it protects sensitive data and saves money in the long run. A Mutare survey showed that 37% of vishing attacks are successful, and fraud losses due to the voice channel amount to $3.3 billion; businesses cannot afford to neglect to secure the voice channel. 

Organizations can mitigate the risk of financial losses from fraudulent activities by allocating funds toward cybersecurity. Investing in employee training programs can significantly reduce the likelihood of successful attacks. Ultimately, prioritizing cybersecurity investments minimizes financial repercussions associated with data breaches and fraud incidents.

What else is curbing your answer rate?

Although AI scam calls can negatively impact your answer rate, a few other factors can also contribute. Here are some of the things to watch out for:

  • Caller ID spoofing: Scammers often manipulate caller ID information to make their calls appear as coming from a trusted source or local number.

  • Robocalls: Automated robocalls flood phone lines with pre-recorded messages, causing frustration among recipients, which means they avoid answering unknown numbers altogether.

  • Vishing attacks: Vishing involves using voice calls to trick individuals into divulging personal information or performing unauthorized actions.

  • Spam call volume: The sheer volume of spam and unwanted calls inundating phone networks overwhelms recipients, making distinguishing between legitimate and fraudulent calls challenging.

Protect your business from AI scams

AI scams, from impersonation attempts to vishing schemes, pose significant threats to businesses. These scams undermine trust and damage reputation, leading to financial losses. Fortunately, Hiya offers protection against scam calls through our Branded Call solution, which adds a recognizable brand identity to phone calls. This increases pick-up rates by 80% on average, enhancing customer communication and reducing the risk of unanswered calls. Download our latest reputation guide to learn more about improving business call reputation and combating scam calls.

Author Hiya Team

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