California attorney general says AI and 'deepfake' scams are rampant Here's how to avoid them.

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This graphic illustration shows an artificial intelligence (AI) symbol on a smartphone with stock market percentages in the background. (Umar Marquez/Sopa Images/Light Rocket via Getty Images)

“Deepfake” content in the form of artificial intelligence and fake visual or audio pieces of media is becoming more widespread as technology advances, and California officials are trying to inform residents about how to spot them. have been.

“Liars are often in our pocket, just a phone call, social media message, or text away,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. “AI and other new and developing technologies can make scams harder to spot. Knowing what to look for is an important way to protect consumers from these tactics. I urge Californians to be vigilant against scammers. Take practical steps to avoid becoming a victim, including talking to friends and family who are unaware of the risks.

AI-related scandals have already rocked the US in recent months.

FILE – President Joe Biden signs an executive order on artificial intelligence in the East Room of the White House on October 30, 2023 in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris looks on at right. The White House said on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, that it is seeking public comment on the risks and benefits of making key components of AI systems publicly available for use and modification. (AP Photo/Evan Vokey, File)

Five people were expelled from a Beverly Hills middle school in February after the spread of AI-generated pornographic images of young students. In April, a high school teacher in Maryland made a fake audio recording of his boss, the principal, making racist and anti-Semitic remarks.

According to the California AG, an AI scam targeting parents is circulating, where their child's cloned voice can beg for money after a car accident or trouble with the law. In January, an AI scam in New Hampshire allegedly gave voters a fake call from President Joe Biden, preventing them from voting in the state's primary election.

Similar incidents have occurred on a more macro level, such as Taylor Swift falling victim to AI-generated obscenity and misinformation can spread like wildfire online, especially in an election year.

Taylor Swift wears a Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce jacket as she arrives before the NFL Wild Card Playoff football game between the Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo. The scourge of pornography, with AI-generated deepfake images and sexualization of people without their consent, has targeted its most famous victim, singer Taylor Swift, who has drawn attention to the issue. That's what tech platforms and anti-abuse groups are struggling to solve. (AP Photo/Ed Zerga, File)

Legislation is underway at the state and national level to combat these “deep faxes,” but in the meantime, how can regular people avoid falling prey to attacks and misinformation?

Here are tips from the California AG's office:

  • Develop family code words.: Develop simple ways to verify if a family member is truly in need before answering phone calls or sharing personal information for financial assistance. Talk with the family about setting “safe words” or asking a question that only that person knows the answer to. When making inquiries, keep in mind that scammers may gain access to information through social media and other online sources.
  • Minimize personal audio/video content on social media accounts.: Consider removing personal phone numbers and audio and video clips from your and your children's social media profiles. AI scammers can use these clips to create clone voices and videos of their loved ones.
  • Check the privacy settings: Strengthen privacy settings on social media so strangers don't learn facts about your life and current whereabouts, including when you or a family member is out of town.
  • Do not answer the phone: Allow phone calls from unknown numbers to go to voicemail. They are often illegal robocalls.
  • Don't trust Caller ID: Phone numbers can be “spoofed” to look like a familiar number from friends, family, a school district, or a government agency. Don't assume caller ID is valid and be careful if the caller seems different or if they ask for financial or personal information.
  • Turn off the phone: If you suspect a scam call, hang up immediately. Don't automatically trust automated messages: Pressing “1” often indicates that you don't want to receive future calls, only informing bad actors that they should continue calling that active phone number. .
  • Take advantage of call blocking technology: Many cellular providers offer advanced call blocking technology that can help prevent robocalls from reaching you.
  • Do not click on suspicious links: Scammers will try to get you to click on links that are sent to you in texts, emails or social media. Text messaging is especially dangerous because you can quickly click on a link and start entering a password, not realizing that the link is fake, and that your password is being recorded.
  • Go directly to the websites: Instead of clicking on a link sent to you, go directly to the website of a company you are familiar with. Some fake links look very similar to the original website address. You should never click on links sent to you in texts – for example, those that look like a bank. Instead, visit the bank's website on your internet browser.
  • Use strong passwords: Protect yourself by using different, unique passwords for each of your online accounts. Make sure the password you use is at least eight characters long, including a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. Consider using a password manager to provide suggestions and store strong passwords.
  • Protect your Social Security Number (SSN) and other sensitive information: Instead of carrying your Social Security card in your wallet, keep it in a safe place at home. Provide your SSN only when absolutely necessary, such as on tax forms or employment records. If a business asks you for your SSN, see if another number can be used instead.
  • Beware of government impersonators and other common scams: Some scammers are sophisticated. They may offer to provide “documents” or “evidence” or use the name of a real government official or agency to trick you into thinking their calls are legitimate. If a government agency calls you and asks for financial or personal information, hang up and go to the agency's official website (which should be a .gov website) and call them directly. Government officials will not threaten you with arrest or legal action in exchange for prompt payment. They won't promise to increase your benefits or fix a problem or transfer funds to a safe account in exchange for a fee. And they won't ask for payment in the form of gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, Internet currency, or mailing cash.
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