AI Generated Scams Increase the Threat to Festive Shoppers

AI Generated Scams Increase the Threat to Festive Shoppers

The festive shopping period is now upon us, but it can end up being a less than festive time for those who are scammed and lose a lot of money. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), has reported that during the period November 2022 and January 2023 online shoppers lost £10.6 million to online scammers, which is on average of £639 per victim1. This year could be even worse with AI generated scams.

This time of year is the perfect opportunity for cyber criminals to scam people out of their hard-earned cash, and developments in artificial intelligence, AI, has increased the sophistication of online scams and made them look more legitimate. Scammers are making use of AI technology to produce very convincing scam emails, and fake websites and adverts. So it’s a lot harder for individuals to spot a scam.

The latest findings that come from reports to Action Fraud, found that over 50% of fraud reports are related to social media platforms. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that 25 to 34 year olds are most likely to fall victim, followed by the 35-44 and 18-24 age groups. Alarmingly, Action Fraud reported that 1 in 17 people in the UK have been a victim of fraud in the last year. In the same report it also stated that 59% of British people are putting themselves at risk to cyber criminals by using their email password on other sites. Everyone needs to ensure that they are keeping themselves safe, so do take a look at the NCSC excellent guide on taking your email security to another level. If you’d like to learn more about cyber security then take a look at a range of short online courses on topics such as phishing, malware, browsing safely and information security.

For many years it has been possible to spot scam communication because of typing errors, mis-spelt words or poor grammar, however with the use of AI communications these are pretty much eliminated and written communication is far better. So how do we protect ourselves against scammers? The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is advising us not to be drawn into offers that have a limited time to buy or look too good to be true, as they probably are. Everyone likes a bargain, and the scammers know this, so they take advantage of shoppers desire to spend less, especially in times of a cost of living crisis. Also if an item is being advertised as being scarce or hard to obtain, don’t feel under pressure to buy it. Do your research and look at alternative suppliers and options. For guidance from NSCS on shopping securely take a look at Shopping Online Securely.

Author: Carolyn Lewis, Head of Business Development


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