skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, April 12, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

AI-Powered Phone Scams Target Seniors

play audio
Play

Tuesday, May 30, 2023   

Phone scammers are now using artificial intelligence to steal money from victims with realistic-sounding facsimiles of loved ones.

Scammers take existing recordings uploaded to social media and use AI to create a dynamic version of the voice that can read a script, and is then used to trick others out of cash. Seniors are often targeted, and when AI voice cloning is coupled with phone "spoofing," which falsifies the caller ID to appear as a familiar and trusted phone number, these calls become very convincing frauds.

Katie Shilton, associate professor of information science at the University of Maryland, said raising awareness is currently the best defense.

"People should know that this is a growing kind of crime and should be a little bit suspicious of frantic, threatening phone calls," Shilton advised. "One of the best countermeasures right now is to try to call the person back on their number."

Phone spoofing can also be used to mimic the phone number of a government agency or reputable organization. The Federal Trade Commission reports scammers may use an intermediary posing as an authority figure such as a fake lawyer or police officer.

Scammers will often ask victims to pay or send money in ways making it difficult to recover, including wire transfers, buying gift cards and sending them the number and PIN, or cryptocurrency. If you encounter a scam, you can report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Shilton said the AI enabling scammers was originally developed for beneficial purposes.

"AI-powered phone scams are powered by a form of AI development that was meant for prosocial purposes," Shilton explained. "Originally, the voice mimicking was for art or for film; a lot of this work has been about accessibility to create voice assistants. Some of this work was to create voice assistants for business purposes."

The National Science Foundation has established an institute for Trustworthy A.I. in Law and Society. The institute is a partnership between the University of Maryland, George Washington University and Morgan State University, and seeks to develop mechanisms to ensure AI trustworthiness via both technological and public policy responses.

Shilton pointed out one area of innovation for researchers is the concept of watermarking AI output.

"Watermarking is a really promising area of research for generative AI in general, including voice mimicking technologies," Shilton emphasized. "The idea that we should have some sort of way for people to tell when something has been generated by AI as opposed to naturalistic recordings of people or something like that. "

Shilton noted one approach the institute is using to improve public trust in AI is including stakeholder communities in the design process.

"We have participatory design projects with the teachers union in Baltimore, to talk about tools for the classroom," Shilton said. "These are frequently designed outside of classrooms. Could we design them with teachers and parents and teenagers? Or we have accessibility design projects with blind communities to do object recognition."


get more stories like this via email

more stories
Kentucky certified lactation consultant and birth doula Bonnie Logsdon has been vocal in her support for House Bill 10. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

In the final days of the legislative session, Kentucky Senate lawmakers could consider the "Momnibus" bill, which would increase access to critical …


play sound

Until recently, many Americans of Middle Eastern or North African descent were categorized as "white" in government surveys, making it challenging to …

play sound

Conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion are on the rise as lawmakers propose bills to restrict or ban DEI in state-funded institutions…


Enbridge owns and operates Line 5, a controversial oil pipeline that crosses tribal lands and runs under a portion of the Great Lakes. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Next week, Native American leaders from the Midwest will go before a United Nations panel with their concerns over a controversial oil pipeline they …

Social Issues

play sound

O.J. Simpson's death has the nation looking back on the infamous murder trial that resulted in his acquittal. Experts say one of the lasting impacts …

IRS Direct File is a new tax tool to file federal income tax returns for free, directly with the IRS. It comes with access to live customer service representatives who can answer tax questions. (stevepb/Pixabay)

Social Issues

play sound

Florida residents can now file their simple income-tax forms for free and save time through the Internal Revenue Service's Direct File pilot program…

Social Issues

play sound

New York restaurant workers need to know their rights to better navigate their workplaces. A new report finds high rates of what it calls …

Environment

play sound

People working for environmental justice are rallying today at the downtown Pittsburgh headquarters of U.S. Steel, voicing their concerns to company …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021