New scam uses voice-cloning technology

National & World

The Better Business Bureau is warning people about a new scam that could imitate your voice

Credit: Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

(WYTV/CNN Newsource) – The voicemail you think was left by a loved one may have been a big scam. That’s according to an alert from the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB is warning that scammers can now use new voice-cloning software.

The tech mimics voices from audio samples. From there, scammers will create voicemail messages to convince you to send them money.

The nonprofit says the scam may hit businesses first, but they don’t expect it to stop there.

“Now what we’re anticipating is that it is actually your loved one’s voice, which is going to make it that much harder to decipher what’s legitimate and what’s not,” said Melissa Ames, vice president of BBB Services.

The technology could also be used for emergency scams, which prey on people’s willingness to send money to a friend or relative in need.

“The bad guys are doing their research. They’re going out and getting videos and there’s technology out there that can alter that audio from those videos that can make it sound like they’re calling and that they’re in distress,” said Det. Patrick Mondora, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.

Mondora says many of these clonings can come from social media video posts.

If you suspect anything suspicious, Mondora says to hang up and contact that person directly or reach out to the police.

Also, with the United States in the midst of the 2020 election season, scammers could use the technology to mimic candidates’ voices and drum up “donations.”

How to Avoid a Business Compromise Scam: (Source: Better Business Bureau)

  • Secure accounts: Set up multifactor authentication for email logins and other changes in email settings. Be sure to verify changes in information about customers, employees or vendors.
  • Train staff: Create a secure culture at your office by training employees on internet security. Make it a policy to confirm all change and payment requests before making a transfer. Don’t rely on email or voicemail.

If you’ve been the victim of a scam, please report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help expose scammers’ tactics and prevent others from having a similar experience.

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