Disturbing New Cyber Fraud Stuns Even Highly Cautious People

(ReliableNews.org) – Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to trick people. Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has given criminals new opportunities to scam victims. One mother is warning people of a terrifying scheme.

Scammers are using AI technology to clone the voices of people and call their loved ones to extort them. Jennifer DeStefano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year after she received a phone call in April from someone who sounded like her 15-year-old daughter, Briana. She said the voice sounded exactly like her child and she was crying.

Briana was on a ski trip at the time, and DeStefano told lawmakers that she thought her daughter was hurt. Her daughter said, “Mom, I messed up.” She asked her what happened, then suddenly a man’s voice was heard telling her daughter to lie down and put her head back. Her child then started screaming and begging her mom for help, telling her she’d been kidnapped.

The men got on the phone and told DeStefano that they had her daughter and threatened to rape and kill her. The panicked mother was at her other daughter’s dance rehearsal and told one of the other parents to call 911. She negotiated with the alleged kidnappers until the police arrived. Another parent at the rehearsal said she’d heard of AI scams like that. So, DeStefano contacted her husband and actual daughter, who was fine. She then hung up on the scammer.

According to DeStefano, when she tried to file a report, officers dismissed it as a “prank call.” The Arizona mom has made it her mission to warn others about scams like the one targeting her family. She recently appeared on Fox News to tell her story again. Her appearance came days after a Chinese exchange student was tricked.

Recently, 17-year-old Kai Zhuang was found in the snowy woods after he was convinced to isolate himself at the request of scammers. His family was contacted and told he was kidnapped. They sent about $80,000 as ransom.

Contact authorities if you receive a similar phone call. Do not send any money.

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