AI Social Security fraud on the rise

AI is fueling cybercrime and the latest tactic targets Social Security recipients.

While Social Security fraud is not new, artificial intelligence is a new tool for cybercriminals who may use it to prey upon Social Security beneficiaries.

In a briefing with U.S. House members, Anthony Monaco of the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said AI is “quickly becoming a primary driver of emerging technologies and is impacting society in ways that everyone throughout the public and private sector are just beginning to understand.”

A recent SSA OIG investigation found that an AI powered chatbot was used to impersonate Social Security beneficiaries and contact customer service representatives to “divert monthly benefit payments to spurious accounts.”

As with other government impersonation scams, the chatbot numbers originated from overseas. In this case, the chatbots “were effective” in moving stolen Social Security benefits into the stream of U.S. criminal commerce, where organized rings of “money mules” collected and moved the stolen money.

An internal Task Force has been formed to study AI and related technology with the goal to determine the tools, processes and staffing needed to investigate and deter AI-related fraud.

OpenAI’s flagship product, ChatGPT, has made headlines since its launch in November 2022. In just a few months, ChatGPT became the fastest-growing consumer app in internet history, reaching 100 million users at the beginning of 2023.

A new report from the FBI reveals that Americans lost more than $10 billion last year to online scams and digital fraud. Not surprisingly, people in their 30s – who are among the most connected online – filed the most complaints. But the group that loses the most money to scammers is seniors. 

On the flip side, cybersecurity professionals and law enforcement agencies can harness the power of AI to counteract these advancements in cybercrime that utilize AI. The increase in cybersecurity attacks has led to the rise of AI-based cybersecurity products worldwide. The market is estimated to reach $133.8 billion by 2030, up from $14.9 billion last year.

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