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Brits warned of rising AI scams as they are predicted to have lost £1 billion in first three months of year, according to new study

There are fresh warnings today about the growing threat Artificial Intelligence (AI) poses to us in the hands of online scammers.

From deep fakes to ChatGPT phishing, warnings over the sophisticated tactics being used to part us with our cash are being raised, as new research shows that Brits have already lost more than £1 billion from their bank accounts since the start of the year.

The research, part of an online safety campaign from savings marketplace, Raisin UK, revealed that almost half of us (48%) feel more at risk of scams as fraudsters become increasingly sophisticated in using technological advances to overcome the measures financial institutions put in place to protect us.

Conventional scams are difficult enough to spot, but AI-based scams are even more dangerous because they are harder to detect. Deepfakes allow criminals to create seemingly legitimate audio and video, often featuring someone famous. ChatGPT phishing gives the text the tone and coherence of legitimate sources. Voice cloning replicates somebody’s tone and language to trick someone else into having a genuine phone conversation. Verification fraud can be used to subvert standard security checks.

With these tools ready to use at the scammer’s will, a surprising three in five (61%) UK adults are confident they can tell the difference between human and AI-generated communication.

David Wall, a 38-year-old marketing manager from Manchester, discovered fraudulent charges on his Lloyds debit card last year, amounting to over £2500. He explains that he and his partner had begun applying for a mortgage, which led him to review his finances with their mortgage advisor.

During the review, the advisor flagged a repeat charge of £23.29 leaving David’s bank account every other week. Not recognising the charge, David dug deeper to see if it was a recurring subscription or streaming service charge. However, after finding nothing, he decided to contact his bank. Speaking with their fraud team, they discovered three small monthly charges to David’s debit card, amounting to £66.66. These charges had been recurring for over three years, which totalled well over £2500.

David was completely shocked and wondered how he had missed these charges. While the bank refunded part of the charges (just over £1200), the remaining amount fell beyond their scope of reimbursement.

David adds: ‘The bank believed my card may have been cloned online, or my secure payment details taken from a dodgy website and charged via a payment system. Honestly, I feel so stupid for not seeing it sooner, but the charges weren’t enough to catch my notice on their own, and they seemed like legit amounts for week-on-week spending.”

During the research, finance expert and co-founder of Raisin UK, Kevin Mountford commented: “It is crucial to highlight the severity of online fraud and the potential harm it can cause individuals. Falling prey to online fraud can lead to significant financial loss, erode trust in online platforms, and even compromise personal information. Therefore, we must remain vigilant, practice safe online habits, and report suspicious activity to relevant authorities. Preventive measures play a vital role in protecting yourself from the dangers of online fraud.”

To assist customers in staying aware of the dangers sophisticated AI financial scams pose, Raisin UK has created a free downloadable stay-safe guide.

Despite every person losing an average £83.69 as a result of scams in the last year, with them costing men (£93.49) more than women (£70.22), fewer than a third (30%) of us report the incident to the bank, according to Raisin’s research, with only a quarter notifying the relevant online sales platforms, with one in four (27%) not reporting the scam at all. This may be due to an emotional cost, with us most likely to feel very angry (28%) and anxious (27%), while 23% develop trust issues.