Generative artificial intelligence systems are already making it easier for scammers to defraud older Americans of their money, and many senators are asking the Biden administration to step in and protect people from this rapidly emerging threat.
Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., the top Republican on the Senate Special Committee on Aging, led a bipartisan letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday asking for an update on what the agency knows about in the AI-driven scam. against the elderly and what it does to protect people. The letter, signed by every member of the Senate committee from both parties, asks about AI-powered technology that can be used to imitate people’s voices.
The letter to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan warns that voice clones and chatbots allow scammers to trick seniors into believing they are talking to a relative or close friend, leaving them vulnerable to theft.
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“In one case, a scammer used this method to convince an elderly couple that the scammer was their grandchild who desperately needed money to bail, and the couple nearly lost $9,400 before being alerted. they of a bank official of potential fraud,” the Senate wrote in the letter. “Similarly, in Arizona, a scammer posing as a kidnapper used voice-cloning technology to duplicate the voices of a mother’s crying daughter and demand a ransom.”
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Braun said “imposter” scams lead to about $2.6 billion in losses each year, and he said seniors are especially at risk now that scammers have access to technology in the voice-clone.
“We’re getting calls on our constituent services line back in Indiana where this is coming and going to some extent,” Braun said. He added that scammers may not use a fake voice but warned that “AI makes it easier because it’s like talking to your grandchild.”
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Braun’s staff said they also heard a complaint about the scam that used a voice that sounded like the movie and pop star Jennifer Lopez. Braun recalled a Senate hearing this week where Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., opened the AI hearing with an AI-generated voice that sounded like him, reading from an AI-generated script, and said scammers had access to it. same use.
“If you can replicate a voice to the extent that I can’t tell if that’s Sen. Blumenthal or a replication — it’s exactly like him — just imagine,” Braun said. “That’s a tool that scammers haven’t got yet.”
The FTC has made it clear that it will use its authority to protect consumers from AI as much as possible as Washington lawmakers look to expand their regulatory oversight of this new technology. The Senate’s letter to the agency suggests that the FTC update its “education and awareness” materials to help seniors understand that scammers may be looking to rip them out of their money using made-up voices. in AI.
Braun said the FTC’s efforts to make these types of public service messages a good start, adding that the Senate Special Committee on Aging maintains a hotline on scams against the elderly that he hopes will will soon hear complaints about voice-clone technology. He said the reports collected by the committee could be used in legislative efforts.
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Braun predicted that Washington is likely to make more regulatory efforts in the future of AI, and it was not known that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and other industry officials who confirmed the AI this week as which invites more federal oversight.
“I’ve never seen any new technology, new business, where the people who are creating it are more concerned about how you use it,” he said. “They’re concerned that if they’re going to get any amount of money out of it, they need to make sure it’s well regulated.”
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“I don’t think there’s any way that AI can go unchecked, and I’m glad to see people … going forward thinking the same way,” he said.