May 27, 2024

Scammers are feeding data from Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook and other social media sites to artificial intelligence programs as part of a criminal scheme to use fake voices and images for ransom, a security consultant told Fox News.

social media “It’s now a reconnaissance tool for multinational criminal groups, people involved in human trafficking, etc.,” said Morgan Wright, SentinelOne’s principal security advisor. The scam worked. “

Posting real-time locations on social media helps criminals target victims when they become separated from their families, Wright said. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Two extortion scams involving AI occurred in Arizona last month. In both cases, criminals used AI-generated voices of family members to demand ransom.

“My daughter said, ‘Mom, these bad guys got me. Help me, help me, help me,'” Jennifer DeStefano, one of the Arizona victims, told Fox News. “It’s my daughter’s voice

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“I never doubted that it was my daughter,” she said. “In fact, it’s so real to me.”

The fake captive who demanded the ransom told DeStefano, “If you call anyone, if you don’t do what I say, I’ll fill her with drugs, treat her whatever I want and throw her in the Mexico. And you’ll never see your daughter again.”

Jennifer DeStefano sitting in a hotel room looking at the camera

Jennifer DeStefano was the victim of a scam that used her daughter’s artificial intelligence-generated voice. (Fox Digital News/Jon Michael Lasch)

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Wright said the speed of the scams and the believability of AI deepfake voices give criminals an advantage over victims.

“They found voices — whether it was on TikTok, Facebook, whatever — that were good enough to reproduce their daughter’s voice,” he said. It’s not what the child thinks and it’s okay, it’s what the parents think. “

Social media apps on iPhone screen

app on phone (Getty Images)

“They isolate you,” former detective Wright told Fox News. “They don’t give parents time to respond.”

The former detective said the scammers also likely knew DeStefano and her 15-year-old daughter were separated at the time.

“You’re hearing a voice that you think is your child,” Wright continued. “Now they have leverage because you don’t know where your kids are.”

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Man accessing TikTok with mobile phone.

Wright told Fox News that TikTok and other social media platforms are being used by criminals as a scam detection tool. (

DeStefano was able to locate and confirm her daughter’s safety during the extortion call, but warned that the experience has left her and her family terrified. She said her story should raise awareness of how artificial intelligence can be used in crime.

As tools become more accessible and accessible, scams using artificial intelligence are becoming more common, even by bad actors with low technical skills, Wright said.

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DeStefano told Fox News that some AI tools violate “individual freedom and personal space.” “It can be used for a lot of bad things.

“It’s definitely something we need to talk about, and there needs to be boundaries.”

To watch the full interview with DeStefano and Wright, click here.

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