2023 has been the year of AI. We’ve seen ChatGPT and other similar tools being used to automatically generate everything from the live chat on websites to full websites themselves and much more.
Like any tool, AI can be used for both good and bad, so it’s no surprise scammers have been quick to use it to ramp up the number of fake websites they can produce, as well as the number of messages they can send.
The other huge advantage it brings is that AI-generated copy can sound a whole lot more convincing than if it’s written by a scammer who’s not a native English speaker.
Fortunately, armed with this single trick you can immediately tell whether someone is pretending to be one of your relatives or friends.
It really couldn’t be simpler: just arrange with all your family and close friends a ‘code word’ which can be used to prove that the person you’re communicating with is genuine and not a fraudster.
It could be absolutely anything, but it should be unusual enough that you don’t already use it regularly and definitely not personal information that a scammer could already know, such as part of your address, middle name or even pet’s name.
Pick something quirky like “space hopper” or “bubblicious” – a made-up word like that can be best as there’s no way a scammer could accidentally use it. Just make sure it’s something that’s easy to remember.
Then, if you ever receive a suspicious phone call, email or text message from someone claiming to be your friend or family member and saying you need to urgently send money to help them in an emergency, you’ll be able to quickly verify whether it’s them or not by asking them for the code word.
Of course, this trick won’t help you to spot a fake website or other types of scams. But you can read these other tips to stay safe when shopping online and avoid becoming a victim.