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KIYC: Voice cloning now being used in phone scams. Here’s how to protect yourself

Phone scams have been around for years. But new technology is making them a lot more dangerous.

Walt Kane

Jul 6, 2023, 11:51 AM

Updated 349 days ago


Cybersecurity experts are warning about a new threat: voice cloning. This is where scammers can make themselves sound exactly like someone you know.
Phone scams have been around for years. But new technology is making them a lot more dangerous.
Imagine receiving a call and it’s a familiar voice. This is called voice cloning, and cybersecurity analyst Scott Schober says it’s a big threat.
“Immediately, you have credibility when you hear that familiar voice, and that's why they're so effective, especially when applied for scams,” Schober said.
Schober gave a demonstration to show how easily it can be done. After recording a message, Schober got a sample of a well-known voice, Donald Trump, to show how easily it is to fool people. And since scams affect Democrats as well as Republicans, Schober tried the test again with a different voice.
“It sounds like him. Like, if I got that call, I would be like ‘OMG the president – he’s talking to me,’” one woman said.

How much of a game changer is this technology?

One study said to do this a couple of years ago would be the excess of $20,000 with audio equipment and an engineer. Now, this can easily be done in the palm of our hands with a smartphone.

How can you prevent voice cloning scams?

Experts say if you’re not sure who’s on the other end, tell them you need to call back. If they’re claiming to be someone you know, use a phone number you know is theirs. If they say they’re with a company or agency, look up that number yourself.
Schober also recommends setting up a family code word.
“If you're not sure that it's your daughter calling, or your grandfather, or something else, you could say, 'Hold on a second, what's our code word?' And if they come back with nothing, you know, it's a scammer, and hang up immediately,” Schober said.
If you’ve been the victim of a voice cloning scam, or if you know something else that needs to be investigated, call 732-738-KANE or email KaneInYourCorner@News12.com.

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