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Latest scam involves fake voicemails

Most people know to be on the lookout for phony emails — especially at work. Scammers can easily make messages that appear to come from anywhere — from the boss’s account to the office printer.

But what about voicemail? Scammers now are using new voice-mimicking software to create convincing voicemail messages, according to the Better Business Bureau.

How the scam works: A voicemail comes from the boss, instructing that thousands be wired to a vendor for a rush project. The request is out of the blue, but it’s the boss’s orders, so the transfer is made.

A few hours later, when confirming payment was sent, the sender learns the manager has no idea about such an order. Scammers had used new technology to mimic the boss’s voice and create the recording. This “voice cloning” technology has recently advanced to a level where anyone with the right software can clone a voice from a very small audio sample.

Businesses might be the first places to see this con, but it likely won’t stop there. The technology also could be used for emergency scams, which prey on people’s willingness to send money to a friend or relative in need.

Also, with the U.S. now in the midst of the 2020 election season, scammers could use the technology to mimic candidates’ voices to drum up “donations.”

Ways to avoid a business compromise scam include:

— Secure accounts: Set up multifactor authentication for email logins and other changes in email settings. Be sure to verify changes in information about customers, employees, or vendors.

— Train staff: Create a secure culture at the office by training employees on internet security. Make it a policy to confirm all changes and payment requests before making a transfer. Don’t rely on email or voicemail.

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