Raising the BARR – Week ending 3/5/2024


As sure as night follows day, the scammers of this world are getting better and better at their ability to convince us that they are the real thing and that we need to give them our personal details or send them money.

They now turn up in our emails, or as text messages on our mobile phones, or as direct phone calls to our mobile or home phones. They often present themselves as our banks, or the tax office, or a delivery service or some other important part of our lives.

But in some instances, things are going to a whole new level. With the use of computers and artificial intelligence it may well be that we soon get phone calls from someone that sounds just like a loved one of ours, asking us for money.

It might go something like this (in the voice of our loved one): “Dad, I have just borrowed a mates phone to ring you because my phone is flat. I don’t have time to explain but I need you to send $50 to his bank account now. His details are ….. Please send it straight away and I will explain it all when I get home.”

You see, with so much of our lives now online, with video content being posted through the social media networks, it is a fact that computers can grab our voices and then use our very own voices to say the words that they are programmed to say, like the example I gave above.

Imagine if you can how confronting it might be to get a phone call like the one described above, in a voice that you know and love. How would you say no to that?

We will all need to start thinking about problems like this, because they are coming at us. And we will need strategies to overcome the pre-programmed script that the voice is dictating to us. Perhaps you could ask to call back in 1 minute. Or perhaps you could ask for the birth-date of the loved one. Or perhaps have a pre-agreed password.

Artificial Intelligence and computer programming is about to turn our world upside down and it will become increasingly difficult to know what is real and what is fake. Scammers will leverage this to try to get money out of us. But more broadly motivated players will be able to present something to us that looks and sounds real – even though it is a computer generated fake. In the US it happened earlier this year when the voice of President Joe Biden was used to randomly call people and tell them that they didn’t need to go out and vote. It was a scam.

Folks, things are going to get really weird soon – be sure to prepare yourself for it.