How AI Is Helping Scammers, and How You and Your Family Can Stay Safe Online

How AI Is Helping Scammers, and How You and Your Family Can Stay Safe Online
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Servicemembers, veterans, and military families reported nearly 43,000 impostor scams to the Federal Trade Commission last year – about 30,000 more than the second-largest fraud type and nearly half of all military-connected fraud complaints.


And according to an expert on such fraud, scammers are getting even better at masking their identities as they try to separate you from your money and/or personal data.


“The biggest change we’ve seen is how, more and more, scammers are using artificial intelligence to improve their chances of success,” said Ally Armeson, executive director of programs, at the Cybercrime Support Network (CSN). “AI helps these criminals create very convincing phishing emails, fake voices, and deepfake videos that are quite hard to detect. With AI, scammers can produce nearly flawless imitations of voices and images using minimal data and at a very low cost. We cannot trust our eyes or ears when it comes to the internet or our devices.”


MOAA partners with CSN’s  Military and Veteran Program, which aims to protect servicemembers, veterans, and military families from falling victim to fraud. Armeson will be a special guest presenter at a free MOAA webinar July 17 covering the expansion of AI-assisted scams, among other topics.


[REGISTER NOW: Protecting Yourself, and Your Family, From Cybercrime]


What makes military-connected individuals more likely to see such scams?


“Cybercriminals love targeting individuals who have steady pay and/or benefits that can be stolen,” Armeson said. “Our military community certainly has steady pay and benefits that are vulnerable – fraudsters often pretend to be from the Department of Veterans Affairs or from Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).”


While some scammers may find servicemembers’ contact information through data breaches or the “dark web,” others simply scan public information on social media, where they’re likely to find a military or veteran affiliation. These platforms also serve as a prime engagement point for scams, Armeson said, ranging from fraudulent romantic interests to fake products and services to nonexistent employers or hiring services.


The July 17 webinar will dive into strategies to combat these types of scams, as well as explore how these cybercriminals “exploit our brain chemistry and cognitive biases” in their fraud efforts, Armeson said.


Other resources from CSN include:


MOAA also offers scam-prevention resources, to include a three-part series on avoiding fraud and a number of recorded webinars (available to Premium and Life members) on the topic: An Overview of Scams and Frauds | Outsmart the Scammers: How to Spot and Avoid Financial Fraud | Protecting Yourself From Cybercrime and Scams


Register for free for the July 17 webinar at this link. If you cannot attend the webinar live, a recording will be provided.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on X: @KRLilley