You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

'We Were Sucked In': How to Protect Yourself from Deepfake Phone Scams. Phone fraudsters are using AI to clone the voices of loved or trusted people to rip them off. Here's how to detect if the phone is real or robot.

By Entrepreneur Staff

entrepreneur daily

As AI technology advances, the rise of deepfakes poses an ever-evolving threat. These manipulated images, videos, and audios use artificial intelligence to create convincing but false representations of people and events.

Of particular concern is voice spoofing, also known as voice cloning, which uses AI to create a realistic-sounding recording of someone's voice. Fraudsters have used voice deepfakes to replicate familiar voices, such as a relative or a bank representative, tricking consumers into parting with money or providing sensitive information.

In one recent incident, scammers tricked a couple of grandparents into thinking their grandson was locked in prison and needed money for bail, using a replica of his voice to plead for help.

"We were sucked in," the poor grandma told The Washington Post. "We were convinced that we were talking to Brandon."

How do you protect yourself against such sophisticated trickery?

"Consumers should be cautious of unsolicited calls saying a loved one is in harm or messages asking for personal information, particularly if they involve financial transactions," says Vijay Balasubramaniyan, co-founder and CEO of Pindrop, a voice authentication and security company that uses artificial intelligence to protect businesses and consumers from fraud and abuse.

He offers these five signs that the voice on the other end may be AI.

Related: How Deepfake Tech Could Affect the Journalism Industry

Look for long pauses and signs of a distorted voice

Deepfakes still require the attacker to type sentences that are converted into the target's voice. This often takes time and results in long pauses. These pauses are unsettling to the consumer especially if the request on the other end is urgent and has a lot of emotional manipulation.

"But these long pauses are tell-tale signs of a deepfake system being used to synthesize speech," says Balasubramaniyan.

Consumers should also listen carefully to the voice on the other end of the call. If the voice sounds artificial or distorted in any way, it could be a sign of a deepfake. They should also be on the lookout for any unusual speech patterns or unfamiliar accents.

Be skeptical of unexpected or out-of-character requests

If you receive a phone call or message that seems out of character for the person you know or the organization contacting you, it could be a sign of a deepfake attack. Especially if you are subjected to emotional manipulation and high-pressure tactics that are trying to compel you to help the caller, hang up and independently call back the contact using a known phone number.

Verify the identity of the caller

Consumers should ask the caller to provide personal information or to verify their identity using a separate channel or method, such as an official website or an email. This can help to confirm that the caller is who they claim to be and reduce the risk of fraud.

Stay informed about the latest deepfake technology

Consumers should keep up-to-date with the latest developments in voice deepfake technology and how fraudsters use it to commit scams. By staying informed, you can better protect yourself against potential threats. The FTC lists the most common phone scams on their website.

Invest in liveness detection

Liveness detection is a technique used to detect a spoof attempt by determining whether the source of a biometric sample is a live human being or a fake. This technology is offered by companies such as Pindrop and others to help companies detect whether employees are speaking to a real human or a machine pretending to be one.

"Consumers also need to ensure they do business with companies that are aware of this risk and have taken steps to protect their assets with these countermeasures," says Balasubramaniyan.

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Growing a Business

Bantam Bagels' Founder Fell Into a Mindset Trap 'People Don't Talk About' After Selling the Now-Defunct Business for $34 Million — Here's What Happened

Elyse Oleksak and her husband Nick founded their mini bagel business in 2013 — and it was an instant hit.

Business Solutions

Get an Extra 20% Off the Price of Microsoft Office for Mac or Windows Through April 16

Boost your productivity with special pricing on these proven products.

Business News

X Is Suddenly Prohibiting Users From Hiding Their Blue Checkmarks

Earlier this month, X gave blue checkmarks to accounts with over 2,500 verified users — regardless of whether or not they opted in.


The Best Communicators Follow These 3 Rules When Talking to Those in Authority

Here's to turn a communication mishap into a powerful communication framework.When you are clear about the kind of communication you need, it's easier for people to say the right things and take the right actions.