How is AI being used by scammers to commit financial scams & how can you protect yourself?

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In an era dominated by technology, AI has become an integral part of our daily lives, influencing everything from social media algorithms to healthcare diagnostics. While the benefits and increase in overall usage of AI is becoming obvious, there is a darker side that we all need to be aware of. This is scammers using AI in financial scams, which scarily is becoming more common.

Understanding AI in financial scams

Financial scams have evolved with technology, and AI is now at the forefront of these illicit activities. Here’s how AI is being used for financial fraud:

1. Phishing attacks

AI algorithms analyze vast amounts of data to write convincing phishing emails or messages tailored to an individual’s online behavior, making it more likely for users to fall victim to scams.

2. Deepfake technology 

AI-generated videos or voice recordings can be used to impersonate individuals, including financial institutions or even friends and family, which leads to fraud trades and financial loss for unsuspecting investors.

3. Automated trading scams

AI-powered trading bots are used to manipulate markets or execute fraudulent trades, causing financial losses for unsuspecting investors.

4. Social engineering

AI helps scammers gather and analyze personal data from social media, which allows them to create targeted and believable scams that exploit personal relationships and trust.

Read more: 5 common financial scams

How to protect yourself from AI-driven financial scams

Now that we understand the potential risks, let’s look into how we can protect ourselves and our finances:

1. Educate yourself

Stay informed about the latest AI scams! Awareness is your first line of defense. So, knowing common scams and tactics will help you recognize potential threats.

An unfortunately common AI scam that is now happening is one where scammers take a few videos that you post online on TikTok or Instagram with your voice. They duplicate your voice to call loved ones and fake an emergency using your copied AI voice to get relatives to send money or gift cards. This can be a scary experience for your family and friends as well as for yourself, having someone imitate you to scam others.

Always be skeptical if anyone asks for money in the form of gift cards or in sudden, random panic. Also, inform your loved ones of new scams and ways scammers are tricking people so they are aware!

2. Verify identities

Be skeptical of unsolicited messages or emails, especially those that ask for your personal info or financial info. Verify the identity of the sender through official channels before taking any action.

3. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Enable MFA for all your online accounts if they offer it as an option. You can download apps like Google or Microsoft Authenticator on your phone. This is an extra layer of security besides just a password.

The government of Saudi Arabia uses Nafath to add an extra layer of protection when you use their official websites, apps, and platforms.

4. Monitor your accounts regularly

Keep a close eye on your bank and credit card statements and charges. You can set up email & SMS notifications, so you are aware of every purchase made with your card.

5. Be wary of deep fakes

Exercise caution when receiving unexpected voice or video calls, especially if they involve financial transactions.

Make sure to confirm the identity of the caller through different means (like sending them a text message to confirm they are okay or calling you at the moment), before proceeding.

6. Secure your devices

Regularly update your devices, use reputable anti-virus software, and avoid downloading apps or clicking on links from untrusted sources to reduce the risk of malware or phishing attacks.

7. Limit personal info on social media

Here’s your friendly reminder to check your privacy settings on all of your social media accounts! Think about what you are sharing before you post it online.

The less personal data available, the harder it is for scammers to create targeted attacks.

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