Voice Cloning is Becoming a Ransom Threat

Voice cloning is becoming a threat to families from fake ransom attacks.

Voice cloning is becoming an increasingly prevalent threat in our digital landscape. Sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can now imitate voices with remarkable accuracy, leading to threats against our privacy and security.  As the technology continues to advance, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between genuine and synthesized voices. This challenge underscores the urgent need for more robust detection and prevention methods. Individuals and businesses need protection from the potentially devastating consequences of voice cloning attacks.

A recent article from Inside Edition highlights a particularly distressing example of voice cloning being used as a ransom tool for thieves. In this case, a mother received a phone call from someone claiming to be her daughter.  They stating she had been kidnapped and needed a ransom to be released. The voice was eerily similar to her daughter’s voice. However, the situation was a hoax perpetrated using AI-based voice cloning technology. This incident underscores the potential risks associated with new AI technology that enables voice cloning.  It’s realism convinces people to pay ransom demands. The emotional and financial toll is enormous on targeted individuals and their families.

How can I protect Myself from becoming a Voice Cloning Target?

To protect yourself from being impersonated, consider the following three tips:

  1. Limit the amount of personal information you share online. Pay particular attention to social media video and audio clips as they are used by attackers to build your voice profile;
  2. Be cautious when granting access to your microphone, camera, or other sensitive data on all your devices;
  3. Use complex, long, and unique passwords every where you go and store them in a password manager;
  4. Enable multi-factor authentication for added security on all your critical accounts.
What should I do in a potential voice cloning ransom event?

If you find yourself facing a potential ransom demand, remember to:

  1. Remain calm and avoid making any impulsive decisions. This is especially true in the face of the emotional challenges and urgency of ransom situations;
  2. Verify the authenticity of the claim by contacting the victim directly or through a trusted third party;
  3. Report the incident to law enforcement and cooperate with their investigation.


News of ransom threats targeting family members with credible cloned voices of children or grandchildren have become a popular extortion method of thieves and hackers.  Learn how to protect yourself and react smartly in these incidents. Doing so in our emerging digital landscape will help prevent these new AI technologies from harming you.

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Article Source:

“Artificial Abduction: Daughter Calls Mom to Say She’s Been Kidnapped and Needs Ransom – But It’s an A.I. Scam” – Inside Edition: 

Additional Reading:

For more information and further reading, consider these articles:

  1. “Deepfake Ransomware: The Next Big Cyber Threat?” – Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/06/29/deepfake-ransomware-the-next-big-cyber-threat/
  2. “How to Protect Yourself From Voice Cloning and Deepfake Threats” – Norton: https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-emerging-threats-how-to-protect-yourself-from-voice-cloning-and-deepfake-threats.html
  3. “Deepfake Detection: Cutting Through the Noise” – AI Business: https://aibusiness.com/document.asp?doc_id=769920
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