AI Voice Cloning: The Newest Cyber Scam

November 17, 2023
Fraudsters can use artificial intelligence to impersonate nearly anyone. Here's how to help protect yourself from AI voice-cloning scams.

"Grandma, can I borrow $100?"

If your grandchild has ever called with a request like this, take note: Cybercriminals can now use artificial intelligence (AI) to impersonate nearly anyone.

"In the past, fraudsters had to hope they could successfully imitate your friend or loved one," says Peter Campbell, director of Schwab's Financial Crimes Risk Management division. "Now, they can use AI to get the voice just right."

Impersonation scams have been a problem for years, particularly targeting older individuals. But now that fraudsters require only a small audio sample—easily acquired from videos posted to social media—virtually anyone could be at risk of being deceived. "One downside to the AI revolution is often there can be no perceptible difference between a real and a cloned voice," Peter says.

The antidote? "A healthy dose of skepticism," says Andrew Witt, a senior manager at Schwab's Financial Crimes Risk Management division. "If you get a call and something seems off, trust your gut and call the person back at a number you know is theirs."

If you're worried AI could help criminals with fraudulent voice verification gain access to your financial or other accounts, there's good news: "While AI may be good enough to trick the human ear, the technology and tools available to large organizations like Schwab aren't so easily fooled since they analyze discrete speech markers," Peter says. "Nevertheless, you should report any unusual calls or account activity as soon as possible. Schwab's Security Guarantee offers to 'cover losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity.'"1

1Read the terms of the Security Guarantee at schwab.com/guarantee.

Discover more from Onward

Onward magazine print issues next to a laptop showing the Onward hub
latest issue online or view the print edition." role="dialog" aria-label="

Keep reading the latest issue online or view the print edition.

" id="body_disclosure--media_disclosure--192826" >

Keep reading the latest issue online or view the print edition.

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own particular situation before making any investment decision.

All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions. Data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness, or reliability cannot be guaranteed.

Examples provided are for illustrative purposes only and not intended to be reflective of results you can expect to achieve.

Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.

1123-31VC