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What do older Americans need to know about AI scams?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Elder Abuse |

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly impacting various aspects of American life; in many instances, it is enhancing efficiency and personalization. However, this progression has also inspired sophisticated scams that disproportionately target older Americans, often considered less tech-savvy and more trusting. 

AI scams involve the use of machine learning and automated software to create and execute schemes that steal money or personal information. These scams can take numerous forms, such as phishing emails, fake websites, social media impersonation and more. AI technologies enable scammers to personalize attacks, making fraudulent communications seem incredibly convincing.

Examples to watch out for

Being unsure of whether a particular communication is a scam is nothing to be embarrassed about. By remaining skeptical, you and/or your aging loved ones can better ensure your well-being. To start, keep an eye out for the following efforts:

  • Phishing emails and messages: In this kind of scam, emails or messages are crafted to mimic those from legitimate sources such as banks, government agencies or familiar companies. These messages often contain links that, once clicked, can install malware on a victim’s device or lead them to a website designed to steal personal information.
  • Deepfake technology: AI can generate deepfake audio and visuals that are convincingly real. Scammers might use this technology to create fake videos or audio messages that appear to be from trusted individuals, urging the transfer of funds or disclosure of confidential information.
  • Social media scams: AI can analyze an individual’s social media activity to tailor scams according to their interests and habits. Older adults might receive seemingly personalized messages or advertisements that are actually fronts for scams.

To better address the risks of AI scams, stay informed of the latest scam trends and understand that AI can manipulate emails, calls and other kinds of media alike. As such, you should always verify the source of a suspicious email or call by contacting the organization at issue directly through official channels, even if – for example – someone is claiming that your grandchild is in immediate danger and is in need of a significant sum of money. 

As AI continues to evolve, so too do the tactics used by scammers. Therefore, taking an educational course for older adults, installing scam blocker software and otherwise trying to be conscious of these risks can help you to stay safer in a sometimes predatory world. 

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