Phone scams and number buffering are nothing new, but now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning anyone answering a call to check the facts and ask the right questions after an Arizona mother got a phone call.
According to Business Insider, she could hear her 15-year-old daughter crying, saying things like, “Mom, I messed up.” A male scammer then told the woman that they had her daughter and demanded $1 million for her return.
The mother said she believed the call, saying she never doubted the inflection or the way her “daughter” was crying on the phone.
After telling the scammers she didn’t have $1 million, they lowered the amount to $50,000. While the mother later discovered her daughter was safe with her husband, she has remained active on social media warning others of the technology scammers use.
Several companies, like Microsoft, have been developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT software that can clone voices with just a three-second audio clip from pretty much anywhere. Despite good intentions, it didn’t take long for scammers to find a way to use the technology for their benefit.
According to Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Phoenix office Dan Mayo, scammers are typically able to get details of their victims from their social media accounts and call people using numbers from unfamiliar area codes or even from overseas.
Mayo added that these types of scams happen on a daily basis.