In the current era of rapid technological progress, fraudsters have employed a variety of techniques to deceive and exploit individuals. Voice cloning is an emerging threat, which was thought to exist only in the realm of science fiction.
What is Voice Cloning?
Voice cloning is a process by which individuals can imitate the voice of another person with a high degree of precision. This can be achieved with text-to-speech software, deep learning, and large audio data sets. Although voice cloning is not malicious in nature, it has been used in legitimate applications such as voice assistants and in the entertainment industry for dubbing. However, voice cloning can also be used for fraudulent purposes.
How Does Voice Cloning Fraud Occur?
Imagine this scenario: Aman is a well-respected business owner. He receives a call from a fake voice claiming to be his attorney, Mira. The fake voice tells him there is a financial emergency which requires his immediate attention, and that he needs to transfer a large sum of money into a specific account. Aman believes in the credibility of his long-term relationship with Mira and follows the instructions. However, what he does not know is that the voice he receives on the phone is not Mira’s voice at all. Instead, it is the voice of a fraudster using voice cloning technology. Aman gets caught up in a voice cloning scam and loses a lot of money. The fraudster combines technology with social engineering to pull off a voice cloning fraud.
Here is what the fraudster did –
Use of Voice Cloning Technology:
The fraudster used advanced software and deep learning to imitate Mira’s voice. It’s likely that they had access to a large amount of Mira’s recorded voice information, which enabled them to accurately imitate her voice.
Leveraging Social Engineering:
The cloned voice was utilized to create a sense of trust and urgency. The fraudster convinced Aman that he was talking to his lawyer and manipulated him to send money without hesitation.
How to Safeguard Yourself Against Voice Cloning?
The concept of voice cloning fraud may appear to be fictional, but they are real, and they are on the rise. To protect oneself and one’s organization from such fraudulent schemes, the following techniques should be considered:
1. Educate Employees and Family Members:
Make sure employees, employees’ families, and anyone else handling sensitive data or financial transactions know about voice cloning fraud. Talk to them about identity verification and cybersecurity.
2. Stay Informed About Technology:
Stay up to date on new technologies and threats. As technology changes, so does the way fraudsters operate. Being aware can help you detect potential frauds more quickly.
3. Use Secure Communication Channels:
Whenever possible, use encrypted messaging or video conferencing to verify who you’re talking to. Encryption reduces the chances of fraudsters pretending to be you.
4. Verify Identities:
When you receive an unexpected or urgent request, always confirm whom you are communicating with. Ask for more details, that only the genuine person will know or use a form of secondary communication to confirm who they are.
5. Be Alert with Financial Transactions:
Requests for financial transactions can be sent via voice call, SMS, social media or email. Make sure the request is legitimate by verifying it through a secure, trusted messaging channel. Be wary of sudden, bulk requests and adhere to established verification protocols.
6. Consider Investing in Voice Authentication:
Some companies and services are investing in voice authentication to provide an extra layer of protection. Voice recognition can be used to authenticate callers by analyzing unique voice signals and features.
7. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):
To give your accounts an extra layer of protection; implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). This means that even if someone does manage to access your account, they will not be able to do so without an additional authentication process.
Lessons Learned from Aman’s Experience:
Let us look at how Aman’s story might have played out if he had known about voice cloning fraud and implemented best practices to protect himself.
When Aman gets the call claiming to be from his attorney, Mira, the voice sounds just like Mira, but he decides to be more cautious. He asks the caller to verify his identity, but the fraudster cannot fake Mira’s voice, so they excuse themselves and hang up the phone. So, in this scenario, Aman’s knowledge and quick thinking prevented him from falling victim to voice cloning fraud. Whenever in doubt, make a verification call to the original person using the saved contact number.
Voice cloning is one of the most common forms of technology-based fraud. It enables fraudsters to pass themselves off as legitimate people and trick victims into revealing confidential information or doing things they would not normally do. So, how can you protect yourself from voice cloning? It’s all about being aware, verifying identities, and staying up to date on the risks of voice cloning. Being aware and vigilant is your best defense against this growing threat.
If you have been a victim, you can register a complaint immediately by dialing 1930 or visit the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal.