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Police in North Dakota Warn of AI-Assisted Phone Scams

The Bowman Police Department is cautioning residents to be alert to phone calls seeking money, which may be using voice cloning. Police Chief Charles Headley highlighted the potential use of artificial intelligence in these calls.

Smartphone receiving a call from unknown number
Shutterstock/Tero Vesalainen
(TNS) — The Bowman Police Department has issued a warning to residents about a new wave of phone scams, possibly assisted by artificial intelligence, targeting individuals with requests for emergency financial aid.

According to a recent incident reported by a Bowman resident, scammers are employing voice cloning technology to impersonate relatives in distress, making the fraudulent calls disturbingly convincing.

The most recent incident involved a Bowman resident receiving a phone call from an individual claiming to be a male relative who had been arrested outside the area and urgently needed money. The victim noted that the caller's voice bore an uncanny resemblance to that of the supposed relative, raising initial concerns about the relative's well-being. However, suspicion arose when the resident, seeking to verify the caller's identity, inquired about the name of the caller's wife. The scammer, caught off guard, responded aggressively and subsequently altered their voice, revealing the call's fraudulent nature.

When confronted, the impersonator terminated the call.

Chief Charles R. Headley, of the Bowman Police Department, highlighted the potential use of artificial intelligence in these scams, allowing criminals to clone voices of known individuals to exploit family members and friends. This advanced tactic adds a layer of complexity to the scams, making them more difficult to immediately recognize.

The Bowman Police urge the public to exercise caution when receiving unsolicited phone calls asking for money, even if the caller appears to be a known relative or friend. They recommend verifying the caller's identity through personal questions that only the genuine individual would know.

The department is actively investigating the reported incidents and advises anyone who receives such a call to contact local authorities immediately.

(c)2024 The Dickinson Press (Dickinson, N.D.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.