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Lawmakers Warn About Dangerous Scam Targeting Older Americans

According to the Senate Committee on Aging’s annual report released this month, older Americans faced significant financial losses, amounting to $1.1 billion in 2022 due to various scams. The report, discussed during a Thursday committee hearing on AI scams, highlighted the predominant use of AI technology in these fraudulent activities. Voice cloning and other AI-generated tactics were reportedly common elements in the scams.

During the hearing, Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., asserted the necessity of federal action to safeguard consumers from AI-generated scams. He emphasized the vulnerability of consumers to these scams regardless of their age, gender, or background, underscoring the minimal regulations on AI capacities. The absence of comprehensive regulations prompted calls from witnesses and lawmakers to address the issue through legislation.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, raised concerns about the reported $1.1 billion figure, suggesting that it might be an underestimate as it does not account for instances where victims choose not to report scams due to embarrassment. The report outlined the top 10 scam categories, including financial impersonation, robocalls, computer scams, catfishing on dating profiles, and identity theft.

AI technology, specifically the imitation of individuals’ voices, emerged as a prevalent method in these scams. Witnesses shared testimonies during the hearing, recounting experiences of receiving calls that remarkably mimicked the voices of their loved ones in distress, leading to emotional pleas for financial assistance.

Tahir Ekin, PhD, director of the Texas State Center for Analytics and Data Science, testified about the intentional use of impersonation to enhance the scams’ believability and emotional impact. He stressed the need to prioritize enhancing data and AI literacy among older Americans, actively involving them in prevention and detection efforts.

Victims, including an older couple and a Philadelphia-based attorney, provided firsthand accounts of distressing encounters with scammers. The attorney highlighted the lack of remedies for crimes involving crypto and AI, urging legislation to address these gaps.

The Federal Trade Commission’s data underscored the increased susceptibility of elderly Americans to online scams compared to their younger counterparts. The hearing underscored the pressing need for legislative measures to counter the rising threat of AI-driven scams and protect vulnerable populations.

Fox News

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