4 ways scammers are using AI chatbots to steal data

by | Mar 15, 2023

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According to the Federal Trade Commission, impostor scams were the second most popular scam in America in 2022. Over 36,000 people reported being conned by scammers pretending to be friends and family. Artificial intelligence chatbots, or AI chatbots, are making it even easier for hackers to pull off their nefarious schemes.

While chatbots are commonly used to help customers solve issues online, they can also be misused by people with bad intentions. Learn more about the five ways that scammers are using AI chatbots to steal your personal information.

What are AI chatbots?

You probably hear about AI all the time, but what are AI chatbots? And why are they so dangerous? AI chatbots are trained to have human-like conversations using a process known as natural language processing (NLP). With NLP, the chatbot is able to interpret human language, enabling the bot to operate on its own. Programmers teach chatbots how to “understand” the context of a person’s words, allowing them to answer questions and carry on a conversation.

Because AI chatbots can simulate human conversation, they have become a tool for hackers and scammers to trick innocent victims.

Types of AI chatbots scams

Some people can easily spot scam messages because they look like they’ve been written by a robot. However, advances in AI technology are making it harder to identify scams. Hackers are improving their lure by using AI to eliminate spelling and grammatical mistakes and generate email threads. You’re more likely to fall for these more believable and convincing scams.

Let’s go over four of the common types of AI chatbot scams and how you can avoid them.

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1. Romance scams

Today, many people turn to the internet during their search for true love. Dating sites and apps offer the exciting opportunity to meet people everywhere, from down the street to the other side of the world. But not everyone who sweeps you off your feet should be trusted. Scammers are using AI chatbots to write convincing messages to unsuspecting victims. During your quest to find love and connection, keep in mind that you could be talking to a chatbot instead of a real person.

This new version of a popular scam lets AI do all the work, leaving scammers with more time to plot and scheme against others. Read more about how you can defend yourself from their antics by staying safe on dating apps.

2. Phishing scams

Phishing is the most prominent type of cyberattack used by criminals today. Scammers masquerade as banks, credit card providers, friends, and colleagues with the goal of tricking people into taking urgent action without thinking over the consequences. To avoid being scammed, it’s critical to understand the different types of phishing attacks and how they work.

Now, scammers are using AI to make their phishing scams more successful and harder to detect. Make sure to read emails carefully, check for spelling and grammar errors, and look at the web address before clicking on any links. Always check the sender’s address, and contact the company or person who sent the email directly, through a different channel, if you have any doubts. Here are some more tips on how to fight back against phishing attempts.

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3. Catfish scams

Imagine forging a beautiful relationship with someone online—only to find out they were a robot the whole time. Unfortunately, this is a harsh reality for some people today. Scammers can use AI chatbots to trick you into thinking they’re a real person. They might catfish you with stolen photos, an attractive personality, and other lies about themselves. Once they’ve gained your trust, the chatbot will ask you for personal information or for money.

You should never give any of your personal information—including your social security number, bank accounts, or passwords—to anyone online. Remember, they could be a chatbot!

4. Voice mimic

AI chatbots are even able to mimic voices by using audio samples to create a replica that can say anything they want. Microsoft recently unveiled a text-to-speech AI model called VALL-E. The company claims this chatbot can mimic any voice, including emotional tone, vocal cadence, and even background noise. Chatbots now have the capability to mimic your voice and ask your grandparents for money, which of course, they will send right over.

This voice mimic scam takes a lot of planning, and it can be avoided by confirming the message to a human in person. Tell your grandparents that hopefully you’ll never need to ask for money, but if you do, they should give it to you in person to be safe.

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Should you be afraid of AI chatbots?

After reading about all the ways AI chatbots can scam you out of money and personal info, you might be a little bit worried. However, it’s important to stay calm and remember that the vast majority of AI users are just having fun chatting with virtual friends like ChatGPT. Instead of panicking about cyberattacks, use that energy to stay alert and cautious. AI is still an amazing tool that can help grow your business, improve customer service, and boost engagement.

Are you afraid of advancement in AI? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts. And don’t forget to check out the Quantum Fiber Explore blog for more on AI and technology!

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