Mumbai: Cyber Cell Swamped With AI Voice Scam Cases

Cybercriminals now replicate children's voices with artificial intelligence (AI) to fool parents into believing that their children are being arrested to extort money.

Mumbai: Cyber Cell Swamped With AI Voice Scam Cases

Cybercriminals now replicate children's voices with artificial intelligence (AI) to fool parents into believing that their children are being arrested. They take advantage of parents' natural tendencies, causing unintentional payments before the scam is discovered. Complaints in cyber cells have increased when law enforcement issued a warning that thieves are using voice recordings taken from social media.

In one case reported to the Colaba police station, the complainant received a WhatsApp call asking about his son who studies in a Mumbai college, from an unidentified individual posing as the CBI.

He was told by the person posing as a CBI officer that his son had been arrested in connection with a rape case, and the FIR registration process was in progress. He was told to pay INR 50,000 for ceasing this, the complaint stated.

In his statement, the complainant informed the police that the scamster on call even offered to connect him with his son, handing the phone to his crying child, whose distressing voice made it impossible for the complainant to discern whether it was his son or someone else.

The complainant told the police that he sent INR 50,000 to the unidentified person acting as a CBI officer out of terror.

The complainant said that he put his call on hold for 15 minutes after the payment was done, saying there were media representatives at his office wanting INR 1 lakh. The complainant said he was pressured into sending an extra INR 50,000 even though he had stated that he couldn't afford to pay that amount. They linked the complainant once more to a young person who resembled to be his son.

According to the police, the complainant didn't recognise he was being tricked until the unidentified person posing as a CBI investigator asked for an extra INR 2.5 lakh, saying the victim's family was there and demanding compensation. After hanging up the phone, the complaint learned from his wife that their son was in fact attending college.

Something similar was reported at Tardeo Police Station as well. An unidentified individual posing as Durgesh called the complainant, a chartered accountant. The person said, "Durgesh bol raha hu, (This is Durgesh talking), this is my alternate number." According to the complaint, Durgesh was his friend.

In brief conversation, the unidentified caller told the complainant about his friend's accident. His family was sending money to his account, and they asked the complainant to transfer it to his GPay number.

The complainant said in his statement that he received a message of INR 1.45 lakh credited to his account while conversing with the unknown person impersonating being his friend. The scamster asked him to transfer the same amount to the GPay number as instructed.

The complainant said that he almost sent INR 95,000 to the GPay number of the unidentified caller before his daily allotment had been exceeded. Then, the unidentified individual posing as the complainant's buddy asked for the remaining sum. The real Durgesh was on the complainant's phone list, and after receiving the screenshots from GPay, he called back to ask about them. It was only at that point that the complainant realised he was being tricked by someone else using voice cloning software.

Retrieval-based Voice Conversion (RbVC) is an AI method that cybercriminals are employing to clone voices by extracting speech samples from social media posts. This makes it simpler for them to trick people because it incorporates audio and visual content.

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