The rise of AI: Fraud in the digital age

News release

March 4, 2024 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an exciting tool and has revolutionized many aspects of our lives. But it has also given fraudsters opportunities to make their frauds even more convincing. 

According to Statistics Canada, fraud cases in Canada have almost doubled over the past ten years, surging from 79,000 in 2012 to 150,000 in 2022. This increase shows that fraudsters are becoming more skilled, and technology like AI is helping them improve their old tricks. 

AI can be used to quickly produce texts, emails, and messages in the style and language of a specific person. It can be used to clone anyone's voice. And in just minutes, it can be used to make fake images, audio, or videos of real people. 

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s been generated by AI. Luckily, knowledge is your best shield to protect yourself from AI-generated scams.

Fraudsters can use AI to:

  • Impersonate a well-known company or individual to promote fake products or services.
  • Generate a convincing fake investment opportunity.
  • Make chat bots spread fake reviews that sound and look like real people wrote them.
  • Use voice cloning for deceptive telemarketing.

Watch out for these red flags:

  • Realistic-looking videos of a public figure promoting an investment opportunity, or any other promotion they don’t normally do.
  • Unusual body or lip movement in videos.
  • Strange phrasing or inconsistencies, irrelevant content.
  • Websites that mimic real companies.
  • Unexpected phone calls or messages, especially if the sender conveys a sense of urgency, fear, or panic.

To protect yourself:

  • Trust your instincts when something doesn't feel right.
  • If something seems fishy, check names and logos on websites for authenticity.
  • Stay informed about AI and frauds—research, read, and discuss with friends and family.
  • Report suspicious websites. If you believe you’ve come across misleading AI generated content, report it to the Competition Bureau or to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that protects and promotes competition for the benefit of Canadian consumers and businesses. Competition drives lower prices and innovation while fueling economic growth.

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