New Voice Cloning Scam Has Regulators Scrambling for Solutions: The Kiplinger Letter

As fraudsters add voice cloning technology to their arsenal of deception, regulators are playing catch-up.

To help you understand what voice cloning is, how it's part of the rise in AI-assisted scams and what we expect to happen in this area in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

Federal regulators are racing to combat a scam straight out of Terminator 2: Voice cloning — where artificial intelligence (AI) is used to impersonate someone for the purpose of stealing personal information and money. 

The AI-created voice can trick someone over the phone by making up an emergency requiring urgent action, such as a car crash that lands a loved one in jail, requiring a fast bail payment. Although regulators are behind the eight ball, recent efforts should help. 

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For example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is investigating how voice cloning can be used for robocalls and robotexts. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission has launched a contest for innovators to develop new tech solutions to the problem. 

In October, New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, revealed that he used this kind of generative AI voice technology to make robocalls to voters in multiple languages (including Haitian Creole, Mandarin, and Spanish) even though Adams himself does not speak any languages fluently besides English. The realistic-sounding calls are entirely AI-rendered using text that is input into cloning software, Voice Lab, from American software company Eleven Labs.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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John Miley
Senior Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

John Miley is a Senior Associate Editor at The Kiplinger Letter. He mainly covers technology, telecom and education, but will jump on other important business topics as needed. In his role, he provides timely forecasts about emerging technologies, business trends and government regulations. He also edits stories for the weekly publication and has written and edited e-mail newsletters.

He joined Kiplinger in August 2010 as a reporter for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, where he wrote stories, fact-checked articles and researched investing data. After two years at the magazine, he moved to the Letter, where he has been for the last decade. He holds a BA from Bates College and a master’s degree in magazine journalism from Northwestern University, where he specialized in business reporting. An avid runner and a former decathlete, he has written about fitness and competed in triathlons.