Generative AI Adoption and Impact on Fraud

Published: August 24, 2023 by Alex Lvoff, Janine Movish

“Grandma, it’s me, Mike.”

Imagine hearing the voice of a loved one (or what sounds like it) informing you they were arrested and in need of bail money.

Panicked, a desperate family member may follow instructions to withdraw a large sum of money to provide to a courier. Suspicious, they even make a video call to which they see a blurry image on the other end, but the same voice.

When the fight or flight feeling settles, reality hits.

Sadly, this is not the scenario of an upcoming Netflix movie. This is fraud – an example of a new grandparent scam/family emergency scam happening at scale across the U.S.

While generative AI is driving efficiencies, personalization and improvements in multiple areas, it’s also a technology being adopted by fraudsters. Generative AI can be used to create highly personalized and convincing messages that are tailored to a specific victim. By analyzing publicly available social media profiles and other personal information, scammers can use generative AI to create fake accounts, emails, or phone calls that mimic the voice and mannerisms of a grandchild or family member in distress. The use of this technology can make it particularly difficult to distinguish between real and fake communication, leading to increased vulnerability and susceptibility to fraud.

Furthermore, generative AI can also be used to create deepfake videos or audio recordings that show the supposed family member in distress or reinforce the scammer’s story. These deepfakes can be incredibly realistic, making it even harder for victims to identify fraudulent activity.

What is Generative AI?

Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) describes algorithms that can be used to create new content, including audio, code, images, text, simulations, and videos. Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize many industries by creating new and innovative content, but it also presents a significant risk for financial institutions. Cyber attackers can use generative AI to produce sophisticated malware, phishing schemes, and other fraudulent activities that can cause data breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage.

This poses a challenge for financial organizations, as human error remains one of the weakest links in cybersecurity. Fraudsters capitalizing on emotions such as fear, stress, desperation, or inattention can make it difficult to protect against malicious content generated by generative AI, which could be used as a tactic to defraud financial institutions.

Four types of Generative AI used for Fraud:

Fraud automation at scale
Fraudulent activities often involve multiple steps which can be complex and time-consuming. However, GenAI may enable fraudsters to automate each of these steps, thereby establishing a comprehensive framework for fraudulent attacks. The modus operandi of GenAI involves the generation of scripts or code that facilitates the creation of programs capable of autonomously pilfering personal data and breaching accounts. Previously, the development of such codes and programs necessitated the expertise of seasoned programmers, with each stage of the process requiring separate and fragmented development. Nevertheless, with the advent of GenAI, any fraudster can now access an all-encompassing program without the need for specialized knowledge, amplifying the inherent danger it poses. It can be used to accelerate fraudsters techniques such as credential stuffing, card testing and brute force attacks.

Text content generation
In the past, one could often rely on spotting typos or errors as a means of detecting such fraudulent schemes. However, the emergence of GenAI has introduced a new challenge, as it generates impeccably written scripts that possess an uncanny authenticity, rendering the identification of deceit activities considerably more difficult. But now, GenAI can produce realistic text that sounds as if it were from a familiar person, organization, or business by simply feeding GenAI prompts or content to replicate. Furthermore, the utilization of innovative Language Learning Model (LLM) tools enables scammers to engage in text-based conversations with multiple victims, skillfully manipulating them into carrying out actions that ultimately serve the perpetrators’ interests.

Image and video manipulation
In a matter of seconds, fraudsters, regardless of their level of expertise, are now capable of producing highly authentic videos or images powered by GenAI. This innovative technology leverages deep learning techniques, using vast amounts of collected datasets to train artificial intelligence models. Once these models are trained, they possess the ability to generate visuals that closely resemble the desired target. By seamlessly blending or superimposing these generated images onto specific frames, the original content can be replaced with manipulated visuals. Furthermore, the utilization of AI text-to-image generators, powered by artificial neural networks, allows fraudsters to input prompts in the form of words. These prompts are then processed by the system, resulting in the generation of corresponding images, further enhancing the deceptive capabilities at their disposal.

Human voice generation
The emergence of AI-generated voices that mimic real people has created new vulnerabilities in voice verification systems. Firms that rely heavily on these systems, such as investment firms, must take extra precautions to ensure the security of their clients’ assets.

Criminals can also use AI chatbots to build relationships with victims and exploit their emotions to convince them to invest money or share personal information. Pig butchering scams and romance scams are examples of these types of frauds where AI chatbots can be highly effective, as they are friendly, convincing, and can easily follow a script.

In particular, synthetic identity fraud has become an increasingly common tactic among cybercriminals. By creating fake personas with plausible social profiles, hackers can avoid detection while conducting financial crimes.

It is essential for organizations to remain vigilant and verify the identities of any new contacts or suppliers before engaging with them. Failure to do so could result in significant monetary loss and reputational damage.

Leverage AI to fight bad actors

In today’s digital landscape, businesses face increased fraud risks from advanced chatbots and generative technology. To combat this, businesses must use the same weapons than criminals, and train AI-based tools to detect and prevent fraudulent activities.

Fraud prediction: Generative AI can analyze historical data to predict future fraudulent activities. By analyzing patterns in data and identifying potential risk factors, generative AI can help fraud examiners anticipate and prevent fraudulent behavior. Machine learning algorithms can analyze patterns in data to identify suspicious behavior and flag it for further investigation.

Fraud Investigation: In addition to preventing fraud, generative AI can assist fraud examiners in investigating suspicious activities by generating scenarios and identifying potential suspects. By analyzing email communications and social media activity, generative AI can uncover hidden connections between suspects and identify potential fraudsters.

To confirm the authenticity of users, financial institutions should adopt sophisticated identity verification methods that include liveness detection algorithms and document-centric identity proofing, and predictive analytics models.

These measures can help prevent bots from infiltrating their systems and spreading disinformation, while also protecting against scams and cyberattacks.

In conclusion, financial institutions must stay vigilant and deploy new tools and technologies to protect against the evolving threat landscape. By adopting advanced identity verification solutions, organizations can safeguard themselves and their customers from potential risks.

To learn more about how Experian can help you leverage fraud prevention solutions, visit us online or request a call

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