Senior scams getting more sophisticated, but Connecticut is fighting back

Attorney General William Tong warned seniors about “deep fakes.” Con artists impersonate you using artificial intelligence – buying cars or open bank accounts, credit cards and loans – all in your name.

John Craven

Apr 28, 2023, 9:28 PM

Updated 356 days ago

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Your phone rings. You recognize the voice of a loved one pleading for help. The call may sound convincing, but Connecticut’s attorney general is warning seniors that it might be a sophisticated computer-generated scam.
This week, Attorney General William Tong is taking the message directly to senior centers. On Friday, he stopped in West Haven.
“DEEP FAKES”
Tong warned seniors about “deep fakes.” Con artists impersonate you using artificial intelligence – buying cars or opening bank accounts, credit cards and loans – all in your name.
How do they get your voice? Tong said scammers capture it when you answer calls from an unknown number.
“They're picking up your voice as you're talking,” he said. “They're recording it, and then they can feed that into a computer and develop a fake version of you.”
SENIORS TARGETED THE MOST
E.J. Midgette actually got a spam call while Tong was speaking. She’s gotten 204 of them in the last three months.
“Especially with Medicare, when the pandemic was here,” she said. “’Oh, you have to have more Medicare, blah blah blah blah.’ I'm like, ‘No I don't.’”
Tong said seniors are targeted the most because they have more savings and are less technologically savvy.
Scams are getting much harder to detect, but there are subtle hints.
“If they're calling you excitedly about a crisis that they're in and it sounds like a little too much pressure, say something like, ‘Let me call you right back’”, said Tong.
CURBING SPAM CALLS
But what about getting rid of those spam calls altogether? State lawmakers are working on it.
A new bill would expand Connecticut's telemarketer laws to automated “robocalls” and text messages, including apps like WhatsApp. The state’s Do Not Call Registry would also be expanded, and callers would have to disclose more information about who – and where – they are.
“It's going to limit the hours that you can call to between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. at night,” said state Sen. James Maroney (D) Milford). “Beyond that, it would be a violation of that they could go after you for.”
PROTECT YOURSELF
But many scammers are overseas and out of the attorney general’s reach – so it's up to you to protect yourself.
“Talk to your family – your grandkids and your mother, your son-in-law, your daughter-in-law. Have a code word,” said Midgette. “Everyone has a code word.”
The attorney general’s office offers these valuable tips. If you suspect a scam, call Connecticut’s Elder Justice Hotline at 860-808-5555.


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