Your voice can be stolen

February 14 2020
Simone Caron, IFPC

We are always talking about the way technology and Artificial Intelligence advances are going to create business opportunities and make our lives so much easier but what about the other side of the coin?

Fraud has surpassed the level of Nigerian princes offering you their inheritance over email, we are well aware that our data is no longer private and even our smart devices are “listening” to us but apparently even our own voice can be used to commit fraud. It’s the world’s first reported case of an artificial intelligence-generated voice used to steal €220,000. The Wall Street Journal reported that the CEO of an energy company in the UK (preferred to remain anonymous) was scammed into thinking he was on the phone to his boss who heads the German parent company, asking him to transfer €220,000 to, who the fraudster claimed was a Hungarian supplier. After the third phone call regarding the payment, the CEO began to suspect something was off. After obediently making the first transfer of cash, his “Boss” claimed the money had bounced, asking him to make another payment of the same amount.

The CEO realized it was an imposter when he received notification that the payment had infact gone through and that the call he was receiving, came from an Austrian number. The company’s insurance company, “Rüdiger Kirsch of Euler Hermes Group SA” said that the investigation revealed that the criminals had used AI voice technology to mimick the voice - even copying his slight German accent and “melody” with which his boss spoke.

Although the CEO had realised he had fallen victim to a scam before he made the second payment, the first payment had already been moved from the original Hungarian bank account to a Mexican account and consequently split the payment into accounts in various locations.

This advanced AI technology had been released and previewed by an AI company called Dessa two months after the scam was reported. However, investigators and police are still unable to find any suspects. We always knew that technology and AI had a dangerous side to it but has it gone too far? To what degree does technology play a part in fraud and crime?

Find out at the International Fraud Prevention conference where a line up of International speakers will focus on the latest cyber trends and fraud.

Robot and human, Artificial intelligence, Business, Cybercrime

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