Have you ever gotten a call from the IRS telling you that you’re going to jail if you don’t provide them with certain information? What about a call with the caller ID stating it’s your bank, asking for your account information so that they can help get your money back, and then your money disappears? If this applies to you, then you’ve most likely been scammed with deepfake voice cloning technology.
What is Deepfake Voice Cloning Technology?
Deepfake voice cloning technology takes a snippet of your voice and uses it to say certain words, even though you didn’t actually say these words. They can use your voice to convince businesses and people to give them money over something serious, and then scam you out of it. It’s more so going on with businesses right now, but it can transfer over to sound like emergency calls from friends or family to people and can also be used to get fake donations for political campaigns.
Scammers are also able to use your Caller ID information, including your phone number while using the voice mimicking technology to become you and steal any vital information they want from your loved ones. To get your voice, all a scammer needs is you saying something as simple as “You got the wrong number”, and the program can pick up your voice. They can then pretend to be you as they call your family members or friends, say that you’re in danger and need money, and they will think it’s you and send it over.
For example, a grandpa thought it was his granddaughter calling him asking for money to bail her out of jail. He wired the money over to the account he was told to, only to find out he wired it to a scammer and not the prison. He then found out his granddaughter wasn’t actually in jail, and that his granddaughter’s voice was used with the program so that the scammers can steal his money.
What Deepfake Programs are Out There?
This is made possible with programs, like LyreBird AI and Google Duplex. They are voice mimicking technologies that are used for different purposes. Google Duplex sounds like a human voice when it makes phone calls for you to restaurants or hair salons to make appointments with them. It is able to tell them when you would like the appointment, confirm the appointment, and talk to them as if it were a human being.
LyreBird is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program that can clone any voice and mimic it. It can say any sentence you want it to using yours, or anyone else’s voice. It can even mimic celebrity’s voices using audio from an excerpt of a video, or any other audio source. This technology can change the tone of the voice as well to fit the natural aspect of the conversation.
The founders of Lyrebird have stated you can’t stop technology from advancing so its best to just let people know that this kind of technology exists and to make them more cautious on this kind of subject. While the technology is not perfect, this is still the time to play with it to get used to it and be aware of it slowly. This isn’t something to be afraid of, but it is something to be careful about.
LyreBird is currently in beta testing, but once it gets released to the public, both Google Duplex and LyreBird could be used to easily scam people. More people will have access to both these programs, so we won’t really know who’s on the other line if someone claims to be in trouble.
This is why it’s important to never send money to someone who is acting out of character and says they’re in immediate danger over the phone, because you don’t really know if it’s them speaking or the program speaking. It is always a good idea to call that person back on their known number before giving them the money, or waiting until you see them in person to confirm that it’s actually them who needs it. You can also reverse search the phone number calling you to verify their identity if they aren’t spoofing the caller ID information.
This is why it’s important to confirm all payment changes and policies, as the BBB states, and to have a code word with your business or loved ones when talking about sending money. This will prevent you, your coworkers, your family, and your friends from being scammed using deepfake voice cloning technology.