How to Protect Yourself from a New Kind of Financial Scam



Anthony Ma

Financial Advisor & Associate Portfolio Manager


Imagine you are sitting at home on your patio with a coffee in one hand and your cell phone in the other, listening to a voicemail that appears to have been left by your daughter. She tells you that she is in trouble and needs $25,000 wired to the bank account information that you just received by text. She also instructs you not to text or call back because she will be out of reception.

You start to panic and scramble to get ready to go to the bank because the voicemail sounds exactly like your daughter.

If the above scenario seems a little suspicious, you are correct. The voicemail was generated with technology that can replicate and synthesize any voice into whatever you want it to say. While advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) will have many positive effects on the world, this technology can also be used maliciously to facilitate new types of financial scams such as the one described above.

Here are three suggestions to better protect you from this type of scam:

  1. Educate yourself. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of financial fraud is to educate yourself on common scams. It is also important to be aware of the new tactics that cybercriminals are using.

  2. Be cautious and scrutinize where appropriate. Avoid clicking on malicious links from emails that appear to be legitimate and trusting what someone tells you over the phone. If you are unsure, check the email addresses/phone number and contact the company/person directly to confirm whether they sent you the communication.

  3. Check your credit report. Request a copy of your credit report from a credit report agency like Equifax and TransUnion and review them thoroughly to make sure your information is accurate.

As scams become more elaborate and sophisticated, we need to be more aware and vigilant to properly defend ourselves against them.

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