AI may be used in ‘grandparent scams’: Richmond RCMP

Mounties in Richmond are warning that scammers may be using artificial intelligence (AI) to alter their voices in a new twist to “grandparent scams.”

The RCMP says the scam, which usually sees fraudsters pose as a grandchild urgently asking a senior for money, has become “more involved and far more sophisticated.”

Corp. Adriana O’Malley says scammers are now likely using AI to make their voice sound more like a family member.

“As technology advances or changes, so do how fraudsters are applying it to their own frauds and scams,” she told CityNews.

“Unfortunately, as artificial intelligence advances, we do believe it is being used or applied to take advantage of people.”

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O’Malley says the fraudsters will call a senior posing as a grandchild who has been arrested and needs bail money to be sent immediately. She says there are currently files open where AI is believed to have been used.

“We know that it is happening. We know that people are continuing to fall prey to these scams, and we want to protect our community. We don’t want to see somebody sending money and losing this to these fraudsters,” O’Malley said.

“We recommend that if you do this unsolicited phone call, don’t fall prey to the pressure. The individuals committing these offences often put a lot of pressure on the person so they feel like they have to give their information.”

O’Malley says if you’re unsure if who you’re speaking with is, in fact, a family member, hang up and call the person directly to confirm.

If someone does end up losing money as part of the ploy, O’Malley says it is not likely the victim will get it back.

“Often, the money is gone. But we still encourage everyone to report this,” she said, adding it can help investigators keep on top of trending scams.

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