FCC Names Its First-Ever AI Scammer Threat Alert

The first artificial intelligence robocall scammer has been officially named by the Federal Communications Commission. But is it too little, too late?

After all, Royal Tiger has already gotten away with numerous scams that have affected millions of Americans.

Let’s talk about what these headlines mean for AI fraudsters in general, what else you should watch out for, and how to protect yourself against these sophisticated scams in the future.

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A woman receives a robocall. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

So who is the Royal Tiger cyber gang?

Royal Tiger is the first robocall gang named by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This group is known to use sophisticated techniques in their cyber scams, such as AI voice cloning, to impersonate staff of government agencies, banks and utilities, known as scams “robocall”.

The team is comprised of individuals and voice service providers operating in various countries including India, UK, UAE and USA. The group is led by Prince Jashvantlal Anand, who uses the pseudonym “Frank Murphy”, and his associate Kaushal. Bhavsar. Anand has served as “CEO” of “US-based companies” like Illum Telecommunication and PZ Telecommunication.

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What are robocalls and AI scams?

Robocalls and AI-based scams involve the use of automated calling systems and artificial intelligence to deceive and defraud individuals. While there are several ways to accomplish this, scammers like Royal Tiger are now relying on AI voice cloning to create realistic voices that impersonate legitimate entities such as government agencies, banks and utility companies.

Typically, these scams involve the use of certain clever scenarios to take advantage of their victims, such as phone calls about interest rate reductions on credit cards or fake purchase authorization orders, which allow them to to obtain financial and other sensitive consumer data from the people they target.

Using phone spoofing techniques, it is possible to make your caller ID also show a call coming from these agencies, to make it appear more legitimate.

A man frustrated by a robocall. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Is the Federal Communications Commission doing anything about this?

The first step to publicizing scammers – and thus increasing awareness of these types of scams – is to publicly name and shame them. That’s what the FCC is trying to do with Royal Tiger, hoping that detailing its operations will encourage international action against fraudsters. Meanwhile, in the United States, the FCC aims to disrupt their activities and hold them accountable by sending cease and desist letters to the companies involved in the operation, such as Illum Telecommunication, PZ Telecommunication and One Eye .

In some cases, the FCC has actually required downstream providers to block these companies’ traffic. Additionally, the FCC has classified Royal Tiger and its entities as a Threat to Consumer Communications Information Services (C-CIST), due to the significant danger they pose to consumer trust in communications services .

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What the experts say

Dr. Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of ImmuniWeb and assistant professor of cybersecurity at Capital Technology University, commented:

“In 2024, we are likely to see a surge in fraud and cybercrime – which should be distinguished from pure cybercrime – propelled by the growing misuse of online generative AI (GenAI) tools and services. ) available free of charge. As part of well-thought-out social engineering campaigns, GenAI can cause unprecedented financial damage in large-scale phishing or fraud campaigns. For example, older people and other socially vulnerable groups may be tricked into paying “fines” for speeding or minor crimes. never got involved.

“Well-prepared fake calls harmfully exploit people’s respect for law enforcement and government, such as calling on behalf of local police or the FBI, citing numerous laws and regulations with jargon legal to intellectually disarm and psychologically paralyze their victims With VoIP, Phone numbers can be easily spoofed, which is why many gangs use real law enforcement phone numbers to increase the authenticity of their calls. .

“The victim may then be offered a “big favor” (apparently reserved for first-time offenders) to pay the fine online or even by sharing their credit card details over the phone – instead of going to the police station. police or local court Unfortunately, most victims will happily pay. Worse still, some will keep the event confidential, sincerely believing they did something wrong and were lucky to avoid harsher penalties.

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How to take charge of your protection

While it’s great news that the FCC has taken these steps thus far, groups like Royal Tiger are generally able to act quickly and stay ahead of the curve, redefining their tactics and becoming more sophisticated . Here are some tips to take matters into your own hands and protect yourself:

Beware of unsolicited calls: Be careful when receiving unsolicited calls, especially those that ask for personal information or offer services that seem too good to be true.

Use call blocking services: Many telephone operators offer services block or filter unwanted calls. Use these features to reduce the number of robocalls you receive.

Check the caller’s identity: If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a government agency, bank, or utility company, hang up and call the organization’s official number to verify the authenticity of the call.

Avoid sharing personal information at all costs: Do not share sensitive information such as social security numbers, bank account details, or credit card numbers over the phone unless you are certain of the identity of the caller.

Report suspicious calls: Report suspicious calls to the FCC or Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Your reports can help these agencies track and take action against fraudulent transactions.

Use data deletion services: Consider using data deletion services to minimize the amount of personal information available online, making it more difficult for fraudsters to obtain. While no service promises to remove all your data from the Internet, having a removal service is ideal if you want to continuously monitor and automate the process of removing your information from hundreds of sites continuously over a longer period of time. long. Check out my top picks for personal data deletion services here.

A woman receives a robocall. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Kurt’s Key Takeaways

While the FCC naming Royal Tiger the first official AI robocall scam gang is a positive step, sophisticated AI-based scams exploiting voice cloning and caller ID spoofing will likely increase. We must all remain extremely vigilant: check any unsolicited calls demanding personal information or payment through official channels, never share sensitive data over the phone, and report any suspected scams. A coordinated effort from government, businesses, and individuals is essential to effectively combat these evolving AI-based fraud tactics.

What role should AI companies play in preventing their technologies from being used for nefarious purposes, such as voice cloning scams? Let us know by writing to us at Cyberguy.com/Contact

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