Mar 5, 2023

AI Phone Scams Target Friends and Families. Hany Farid Speaks Out.

From The Washington Post

They thought loved ones were calling for help. It was an AI scam.

By Pranshu Verma

The man calling Ruth Card sounded just like her grandson Brandon. So when he said he was in jail, with no wallet or cellphone, and needed cash for bail, Card scrambled to do whatever she could to help...

As impersonation scams in the United States rise, Card’s ordeal is indicative of a troubling trend. Technology is making it easier and cheaper for bad actors to mimic voices, convincing people, often the elderly, that their loved ones are in distress. In 2022, impostor scams were the second most popular racket in America, with over 36,000 reports of people being swindled by those pretending to be friends and family, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission. Over 5,100 of those incidents happened over the phone, accounting for over $11 million in losses, FTC officials said...

“It’s terrifying,” said Hany Farid, a professor of digital forensics at the University of California at Berkeley. “It’s sort of the perfect storm … [with] all the ingredients you need to create chaos...”


Hany Farid is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley with a joint appointment in electrical engineering & computer sciences and the School of Information. He specializes in digital forensics and is also a member of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Lab and senior faculty advisor for the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity.

headshot of Hany Farid
Hany Farid (Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small for the School of Information)

Last updated:

April 11, 2023