Sorry scammers, not on our watch 🚫

Welcome back friends and new AI enthusiasts to ChildsPlayAI, a weekly newsletter where we break down what’s happening in AI, in language you can understand.

While most of us are out spreading holiday cheer, it’s good to remind ourselves that it’s also prime time for some folks who have no regard for the nice list. Today, we’re providing a PSA so that we all can have a scam-free season.

Let’s dig in.

Scammers gonna Scam

The holiday season is a time for joy, and giving… and also ugly sweaters, and the occasional awkward family conversation. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when scammers are out in full force, looking to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.

For the 2022 holiday season alone, the FBI reported over $73 Million in losses due to scams. Now, with the advancement of AI tools in 2023, these crooks are more advanced than ever.

Below are a few of the top AI scams to be on the lookout for and how to best avoid falling victim:

“Grandparent scams”

This type of scam has been on a dramatic rise in recent months due to the advancements in voice cloning AI technology. It’s done by scammers who gain access to consumers’ personal information (mainly from social media) and create storylines to prey on the fears of grandparents and other loved ones.

For instance, the callers impersonate a grandchild or another close relative in a crisis, asking for immediate money. Sometimes these callers even “spoof” the caller ID to make an incoming call appear to be coming from a trusted source. Check out this clip from 60 Minutes to see just how easy and scary this can be

*What to do:

Be leary of anybody calling and asking for money. If they are claiming to be a family member, but it sounds off, either hang up or ask them a question that only the real person would know.

Use call blocking tools to lessen the likelihood of these calls reaching you


All of us are aware of the classic email spam that junks up our inboxes. Previously, we would lean on grammatical errors, misspellings, or broken English to identify something looking a little fishy. But these days, AI tools like ChatGPT or Bard make it easy to write authentic-sounding and well-written messages.

*What to do:

These types of emails are done in mass, so the scammers only need a handful of people preoccupied with their holiday checklist to participate to be successful. If anybody is asking you for personal information or money in an email, proceed with extreme caution. Always check who the email is coming from and make sure to not follow any odd-looking websites or links.

Social Media Shopping Scams:

Who hasn’t clicked on a link to a cool product when scrolling through social media? Consumers should be aware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards. Some may appear as holiday promotions or contests. With the ability to use AI to create legitimate looking sites, the consumer can be left unaware that they are providing their personal information to a con artist.

*What to do:

If you click an ad through a social media platform, do your due diligence to check the legitimacy of the website before providing credit card or personal information.

These are only a few ways in which these fakers are looking to get their hands on your hard-earned holiday money. Hopefully, someday, we’ll be able to rely more on AI to protect us from scams like this, but for today, let’s go old school and use the ole noggin before we go handing out personal information or money to somebody we don’t know.

BTW, If by chance you ever feel that you’ve been affected by a crime on the internet, you can report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center

Happy shopping!


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