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Scammers Are Now Using AI to Try to Steal Your Money – Presented by Mark K. Lund, Utah Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor UtahIf somebody called you from an unknown number, claiming to be from your bank, and asked you to “confirm” your sensitive account information, you would probably recognize right away that this was a scam and hang up.

But what if the voice on the other end of the line was a loved one? You recognize them as someone from your family. They sound upset as they describe an emergency and beg for your help. Who could be so cold-hearted as to refuse their request for money?

Unfortunately, this is a new kind of scam that has been using the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to fool tens of thousands of people into sending millions of dollars to online thieves.

The Washington Post tells the story of a Canadian couple in their 70s who received a call from someone who sounded exactly like their grandson Brandon. He said he was in jail, with no wallet or cellphone, and needed cash for bail.

“We were sucked in,” his grandmother said. “We were convinced that we were talking to Brandon.”

The couple dashed down to their bank and withdrew the daily maximum ($2,207 in U.S. currency). Then they hurried to a second branch for more money. But an alert bank manager pulled them aside and told them how another patron had gotten a similar call and learned that the eerily accurate voice had been faked. That’s when they realized they’d been duped.1

The Post reports that technology is making it easier and cheaper for bad actors to mimic voices, convincing people, often the elderly, that their loved ones are in distress. “In 2022, impostor scams were the second most popular racket in America, with over 36,000 reports of people being swindled by those pretending to be friends and family, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission. Over 5,100 of those incidents happened over the phone, accounting for over $11 million in losses, FTC officials said.”

Advancements in AI technology now allow bad actors to replicate a voice with an audio sample of just a few sentences. Easily available online tools can then translate an audio file into a replica of a voice, allowing a scammer to make it “speak” whatever they type.

It’s difficult for law enforcement to find and prosecute these thieves. And Vice reports that “the courts have not yet decided when or if companies will be held liable for harms caused by deepfake voice technology—or any of the other increasingly popular AI technology, like ChatGPT—where defamation and misinformation risks seem to be rising.”2

One way to short-circuit this type of scam is to ask the “loved one” about something only he or she would know. But the surest way to confirm that the need is genuine is to contact family to find out if the loved one is the location and situation they claim. This would have saved the Canadian couple a trip to the bank and the surrounding stress of the entire situation.

With scams like this on the rise, be highly vigilant of any unsolicited requests for money or personal information. Your trusted financial advisor is happy to share resources to help you protect yourself from online thieves.

If you ever have any questions about your investments or retirement plans, please feel free to give me a call at 801-545-0696.

Regards,
Mark Lund
Stonecreek Wealth Advisors, Inc.
11576 S State Street, Bldg. 1002
Draper, UT 84020

Sources:
1. http://go.pardot.com/e/91522/logy-2023-03-05-ai-voice-scam-/93g7vf/1994040000?h=Rr6p4XDJzoza5CoSXQ4BRoPTQ9y6hflKwrJeIxG6uLc
2. http://go.pardot.com/e/91522/ed-ones-in-financial-distress-/93g7vj/1994040000?h=Rr6p4XDJzoza5CoSXQ4BRoPTQ9y6hflKwrJeIxG6uLc

Disclosure:
This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This material was prepared by Efficient Advisors, LLC (“EA’) for Mark Lund, Mark is a Financial Advisor in Utah. He is known as a Wealth Advisor, The 401k Advisor, Investor Coach, Financial Planner, Investment Advisor and author of The Effective Investor. Mark offers investment advisory services through Stonecreek Wealth Advisors, Inc. a fiduciary, independent, fee-only, Registered Investment Advisor firm providing investment management and retirement planning for individuals and 401k consulting for small businesses. Mark’s newsletter is called The Effective Investor Newsletter. Cities served in Utah are: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah County, Park City, Murray City, West Jordan City, Sandy City, Draper City, South Jordan City, Provo City, Orem City, Lehi City, Highland City, Alpine City, American Fork City. The views expressed herein are exclusively those of Efficient Advisors, LLC (‘EA’), and are not meant as investment advice and are subject to change. All charts and graphs are presented for informational and analytical purposes only. No chart or graph is intended to be used as a guide to investing. EA portfolios may contain specific securities that have been mentioned herein. EA makes no claim as to the suitability of these securities. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Information contained herein is derived from sources we believe to be reliable, however, we do not represent that this information is complete or accurate and it should not be relied upon as such. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. This information is prepared for general information only. It does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and the particular needs of any specific person who may receive this report. You should seek financial advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any security or investment strategy discussed or recommended in this report and should understand that statements regarding future prospects may not be realized. You should note that security values may fluctuate and that each security’s price or value may rise or fall. Accordingly, investors may receive back less than originally invested. Investing in any security involves certain systematic risks including, but not limited to, market risk, interest-rate risk, inflation risk, and event risk. These risks are in addition to any unsystematic risks associated with particular investment styles or strategies.

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