BBB warns that scammers could use new voice cloning technology to trick you over voicemail

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Better Business Bureau says scammers are targeting new voice cloning technology to try to trick people via voicemail.

Most cell phone companies have implemented technology that blocks scam calls, leaving scammers to leave a message trying to get you to call them back.

According to the BBB, the next phase of these voicemails could use voice cloning technology, which can use a small sample of someone’s voice to create fake messages that sound like them.

“The technology is not very expensive and you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get it done,” said Tim Maniscalo, CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana.

Maniscalo said the technology has already been used to target businesses, where scammers try to impersonate a superior’s voice to leave a message requesting a transfer of money.

“They’ll ask maybe someone in the accounting department to transfer some funds or to write a check,” Maniscalo said.

The next phase could be coming to your phone: the Federal Trade Commission held a workshop in January to talk about voice cloning technology and how it could be used nefariously. The FTC singled out grandparent scams in particular as a possible target area- that’s where an older person gets a call from someone claiming to be their grandchild, saying they are in an emergency and need money.

Maniscalo said you should be on the lookout for voicemails asking for any type of money transfer, especially if it’s through an unusual payment method like wire transfer or gift cards.

“Unfortunately you just can’t believe everything you hear nowadays,” Maniscalo said.

If you think that you’ve spotted this scam, save a recording of the voicemail and report it to the BBB at the link here and to the FTC at the link here.

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