Scams are prevalent; be careful what you say, it could be a Voice Print Scam
Chino Valley business has tips, solutions

Prescott News Network illustration

Prescott News Network illustration

Be careful how you answer the phone if you don’t know the number because it could be a Voice Print Scam.

Scammers are now recording voices and using Artificial Intelligence to copy the cadence of the voice to get into people’s personal accounts as some use their voice for getting into their phones or accounts. Or they are using your voice to call loved ones saying you are in trouble and to send money.

While this method of scamming is not common it is growing and it can be devastating.

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Robert Moses, owner of Idea Karma Technology Consulting in Chino Valley, says there has been two cases in the past month involving Voice Print scams in town. One person lost $22,000. (Stan Bindell/For the Review)

Robert Moses, owner of Idea Karma Technology Consulting in Chino Valley, said there has been two cases in the past month involving Voice Print scams in Chino Valley and, in one case, the client lost $22,000 which was all he had in savings.

“This can ruin someone’s financial life. This person, who lost his life savings, had no interaction with them. A 5- to 10-second phone call was all they had,” he said. “It’s becoming inherently more difficult to decipher what’s true and what’s not.”

Moses said this is “scary” and there is rarely anything law enforcement can do about it because it is hard to track down these scammers.

“If you don’t recognize those numbers then don’t answer,” he said. “If the number doesn’t match a name you know, then hang up and call back.”

A more widespread scam is Large Event Scams such as festivals and the upcoming Paris Olympics where people say they are raising money to go to events or that their wallet has been stolen. The scam is once the person puts their information on the internet to make a donation they are charged a lot more money then they agreed to do.

Scammers find the names of people’s friends or family members on Facebook and then pretend on the internet to be them when asking for money. So, Moses urged people not to tag, or list, family members and friends on Facebook.

“They prey on people by pretending to be somebody you care about,” he said. “Do your due diligence. If the number is blocked then it’s not them.”

Moses said if contacted about large events call the people back or the event holder to verify that the call is valid.

One of the ongoing scams is the multi-state Grandparent Scam in which scammers pose as grandchildren saying they are either injured or need money to get home and ask the mark to send money.

Moses said people can avoid being scam victims by not giving out personal information such as Social Security numbers, bank accounts numbers or credit card numbers.

Moses said if it’s a medical provider then clients can always give their information in person.

He said scammers prey on people acting out of fear or emotion. “These scammers have no morality. They use technology for evil instead of good,” he said.

Moses said 9 out of 10 scammers are international, which makes it hard to track them down and, if they are found, he added, a lot of these jurisdictions are corrupt or lack resources. He said India recently cracked down with arrest of scammers.

“But you take down two and five more pop up,” he said.

Moses said scammers have clients who send money through the mail that it does not go to the scammers house but to a “mule” who will carry it to them.

“I want to spread awareness to people to be hyper vigilant,” he said. “It’s only going to get worse with improved technology that makes it easier for scammers to hide. I don’t see a way to fight it so avoid becoming a victim in the first place.”

WIDESPREAD

Moses said he gets about six calls a week from people who have been scammed either through their computers or phones. He said the top computer fraud is when computer users get an alert that their computer has been infected with a virus. This is usually not the case and the scam is that you call a number where you are asked to give them access to your computer.

Moses warns computer users not to give out that information because once they have control over the computer they can use it to get anything off the computer including online banking, Social Security numbers and other information that leads to identity theft.

Those calling into Moses are from Chino Valley, Paulden and Prescott, but he says this is happening all over the country and in other countries every day as this cost Americans $26 billion last year.

Moses said if a computer user thinks they may have been scammed, they should shutoff the computer and take it to a computer professional like himself. The computer needs to be “cleaned” and passwords need to be changed so the user can get his or her digital life back.

He has known people who have been scammed for $10 to $150,000.

“If you take the money out yourself or give out information then the banks won’t refund you,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking, which is why I’m trying to get the word out. I know grandmas who have lost their life savings.”

Moses said if someone is scamming a credit card without approval then the money can be refunded. He said there are also gift card scams, but once a gift card is purchased the money cannot be refunded.

He said there are also text messages that are scams once the customer opens the link. He said 80% to 85% of scams are self-compromised meaning the victim initiates the contact by calling a number after receiving an alert that they have a virus when they don’t.

For more information, call Idea Karma at 928-308-7143.

You can reach the reporter at thebluesmagician@gmail.com.


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