AI-Driven Voice Cloning Scams Targeting Children: A Terrifying New Reality

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A chilling revelation has come to light: criminals are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to hack into children’s social media accounts and clone their voices. The implications are frightening and underscore the urgent need for heightened awareness and security measures.

Security experts have warned about even the most basic scammers employing readily available AI tools online. With just three seconds of a child’s voice, these criminals can create deepfake audio files with an alarming 85 to 90 percent accuracy. Research from security firm McAfee reveals that with increased effort, hackers can achieve a staggering 95 percent voice match, leaving parents vulnerable to exploitation by ruthless fraudsters.

The precision of voice cloning becomes a critical factor as criminals aim to prey on the vulnerability of friends and family members, ultimately tricking them into parting with their hard-earned money. One influencer with a substantial TikTok following shared a harrowing experience where her mother received a call in the middle of the night. The voice on the other end, convincingly her daughter’s but cloned, screamed for help, leaving her mother in a state of panic.

Hi Mum

Fraud experts are now sounding the alarm on a new wave of scams, including the infamous ‘hi mum’ texts, where scammers exploit our goodwill with emotive stories, duping parents into believing their children are in distress.

The rise in younger generations using social media and preferring voice notes over text messages contributes to this type of fraud surge. Hackers target platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok to obtain voice samples from videos or news posted online. The cloned voices are then used in calls, voicemails, or messages sent to the ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ contacts saved on children’s phones.

The emotional impact of hearing a seemingly distressed child’s voice can override a parent’s vigilance, making them susceptible to falling for the scam. One victim shared her experience on TikTok, recounting how her family fell prey to the terrifying AI voice scam in the middle of the night.

This threat isn’t exclusive to children, as a McAfee survey found that 50 percent of adults share their voice data online weekly. Scammers leverage AI technology to clone voices, sending fake voicemails or calls to victims’ contacts, posing as distressed individuals.

Protect yourself

  • To protect against these increasingly sophisticated scams, experts recommend creating a codeword with family members, especially children and trusted friends. 
  • Always question the source of calls, texts, or emails, and establish a habit of verifying with a direct call. 
  • Exercise caution online, be mindful of your social media connections, and consider identity theft protection services to safeguard personal information

As technology continues to evolve, so do the tactics of cybercriminals. Staying informed and implementing proactive measures is crucial in safeguarding ourselves and our loved ones from the dark side of technological progress.

Stay ahead of the Fraudsters

For top-notch social media security, stay vigilant against online fraud and prioritize safeguarding your account’s privacy. Dive deeper into cyber consumer concerns and discover the best protection practices by accessing our interactive mobile app, FRAUDSTER, which is compatible with Apple and Android devices. Explore further at www.FraudsterApp.com.

Have you already got the FraudsterApp? Tap the training icon on your home screen to improve your self-protection skills.

Terry Cutler

I’m Terry Cutler, the creator of Internet Safety University, an educational system helping to defend corporations and individuals against growing cyber threats. I’m a federal government-cleared cybersecurity expert (a Certified Ethical Hacker), and the founder of Cyology Labs, a first-line security defence firm headquartered in Montréal, Canada. In 2020, I wrote a bestselling book about the secrets of internet safety from the viewpoint of an ethical hacker. I’m a frequent contributor to National & Global media coverage about cyber-crime, spying, security failures, internet scams, and social network dangers families and individuals face daily.