Experts warn about AI-based voice cloning technology used for scams

Victims of the tech have been duped out of significant amounts of money.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The technology exists to clone voices accurately..jpg
The technology exists to clone voices accurately.


Voice cloning, an artificial intelligence technology that allows users to mimic someone's voice, has thus far only been used to imitate Hollywood stars. However, now experts are warning that scammers could exploit it for financial gain, according to a report by CTV published on Friday.

As of late, criminals have been using technology to imitate the voices of people their victims know and trust in order to con them into sending over significant amounts of money.

"People will soon be able to use tools like ChatGPT or even Bing and eventually Google, to create voices that sound very much like their voice, use their cadence," told CTV Marie Haynes, an artificial intelligence expert. "And will be very, very difficult to distinguish from an actual real live person." 

Carmi Levy, a technology analyst, further warned that today the technology exists to allow scammers to even spoof the phone numbers of family and friends. This will take the scam a step further, allowing the criminals to convince their victims that the call is actually coming from the person they are impersonating.

"Scammers are using increasingly sophisticated tools to convince us that when the phone rings, it is, in fact coming from that family member or that significant other. That person that we know," he said.

Steps to take to avoid being scammed

To avoid being scammed out of money, Levy said people who receive suspicious calls should immediately hang up and proceed to call the person they think is calling them directly. 

"If you get a call and it sounds just a little bit off, the first thing you should do is say, 'Okay, thank you very much for letting me know. I'm going to call my grandson, my granddaughter, whoever it is that you're telling me is in trouble directly.' Then get off the phone and call them," he noted.

Haynes added that even video chats are not safe as AI is today powerful enough to clone someone's face. 

"Soon, if I get a FaceTime call, how am I going to know that it's legitimately somebody that I know," she added. "Maybe it's somebody pretending to be that person."

The use of this nefarious tech is only going to spread, warned the expert. 

"There are all sorts of tools that can take written word and create a voice out of it," told CTV Haynes. "We are soon going to be finding that scam calls are going to be really, really on the rise."

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