AI lets scammers ‘appear like practically anyone’ but list of five signs give costly bank-emptying ‘deepfake’ away | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

LOOK out for tell-tale signs that you’re being scammed – even if convincing AI is being used to trick you.

Criminals are taking advantage of artificial intelligence for sinister romance scams, experts have warned.

Woman’s hands holding phone in neon colors. Artificial Intelligence concept.Credit: Getty

These catfish-style “deepfakes” allow criminals to woo you and take your money or sensitive info.

“Scammers now use AI,” warned McAfee cybersecurity expert Jasdev Dhaliwal.

“With AI audio and video deepfake technology so widely available, scammers can now sound and look the part they’re playing — in real time.

“AI mirrors every expression they make as they chat on a video call.”

Thankfully, despite how convincing these AI fakes can be, many of the same old rules for spotting scams apply.


The first warning to look out for is when the romance feels too good to be true.

This is often a general rule for spotting almost any type of scam: don’t be taken in by an opportunity that seems too perfect.

Secondly, watch out when the word “love” comes too quickly in messages.

Take that as a red flag, particularly online when you’ve had no in-person contact with them,” Jasdev warned.

Two changes to your conversations to stop ‘AI voice cloning’ phone call from emptying your bank account – get them ready

“A rush into declarations of love might indicate ulterior motives.”

Third is when the story doesn’t check out.

An AI can create a realistic persona, but it can’t guarantee that its story is convincing.

“Even individual scammers forget details they’ve previously shared or provide conflicting info about their background, job, or family,” Jasdev said.

Phone scam statistics

Americans are bombarded with three billion spam phone calls a month. What are the figures regarding the number of victims and the amount of money lost to fraudsters

  • In 2022, Americans lost some $39.5 billion to phone scams, with 68.4 million US citizens affected, according to TechReport.
  • The average phone scam victim lost $567.41 each in 2021, a major rise on the 2021 figure of $182 per victim, according to Hiya.
  • The majority of scams happen over the phone, with fraudsters twice as likely to call compared to text in 2021, as reports the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • In 2021, the US saw a 56% increase in spam phone calls with 60% of those being robocalls.
  • US residents experienced an average of 18 spam phone calls per month, although some experts believe the true figure may be as high as 31 per month.
  • Many phone calls from reputable businesses may be marked wrongly as spam, but 38% of companies have no idea whether they’re being marked as “potential fraud” or not, according to Hiya.
  • Never hand over any personal or financial information if you suspect a phone call is a scam. For instance, your bank will never ask you for such details in full over the phone. 
  • To cut down on spam phone calls and scams, sign up for the Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers, by law, will need to check that list before they call you up.
  • Downloading third-party apps such as Hiya, Nomorobo, or Truecaller can help filter out annoying spam calls.
  • Try not to share your phone number unless you have to, especially online or with sketchy sources.

“It’s possible that one romance scammer has several scams going on at once, which can lead to confusion on their part.”

Fourth is when you experience high pressure.

Trying to rush you into making a decision is a common scam tactic.

But don’t hand over information freely online, especially if you’ve never met the person that you’re speaking to.

A rush into declarations of love might indicate ulterior motives.

Jasdev DhaliwalDirector of Marketing and Security Evangelist at McAfee

Finally, be extremely cautious if someone asks you for money online.

This is usually the end goal of any romance scam, and is a very clear sign that you’re being targeted by criminals.

You should be especially wary if the request is strange, like a demand for gift cards or cryptocurrency.

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