(UnitedVoice.com) – Artificial intelligence (AI) software has come a long way. People are able to trick others with deep fake videos and even mimic the sounds of other people’s voices. The latter is what thieves recently did to try to extort terrified parents.
Jennifer DeStefano, an Arizona mother, recently detailed a horrifying experience to KPHO News. In an April 10 report, the mom said that she received a phone call one day from a number that she did not recognize. She decided to answer it because her 15-year-old daughter was out of town on a ski trip. When she picked up the call, she said she heard her daughter’s voice on the other end, and she was “sobbing and crying.”
DeStefano recalled the voice on the other end of the phone saying, “Mom, I messed up.” The scared mother then heard a man’s voice in the background giving the girl instructions. That male voice then got on the line with her and said he’d kidnapped her child. He reportedly told her that if she called the police, he would drug and rape the teenage girl, then take her to Mexico. In the background, her daughter was heard begging her mother for help. The man demanded $1 million. When she told him she didn’t have it, he demanded $50,000.
While the mother was on the phone with the alleged kidnapper, someone at her other daughter’s dance studio called 911. Another mom called DeStefano’s husband. Less than five minutes later, she was told her daughter was safe.
The scammers had used AI technology to mimic DeStefano’s daughter’s voice. The mother said she never doubted for a second that it was her child. Fortunately, it wasn’t. When she knew her daughter was safe, she hung up.
Subbarao Kambhampati told the news, people can “no longer” trust what they hear. FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dan Mayo said Americans need to keep their social media accounts locked down. He recommends that if you receive a call like the one DeStefano did, slow the caller down and ask questions. You will likely figure out quickly if it’s real or not.
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