AI Scam Targets West End Executive Using Cloned Voice of Steven Miles

Scammers tried to dupe a West End advertising executive into investing in cryptocurrency through a fortunately unsuccessful scam that used AI to clone the voice of Steven Miles.

The incident unfolded when Dee Madigan, a seasoned advertising executive and creative director who runs Campaign Edge along Victoria St, received a message on social media, purportedly from Mr Miles. Aware of the deceptive nature of the contact due to her longstanding friendship with the premier, Ms Madigan decided to engage with the scammer for amusement during a period of isolation at home due to COVID-19.

The scammer, operating under a fabricated profile on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, quickly steered the conversation towards financial investments. 

Ms Madigan, playing along, expressed interest but feigned difficulty in setting up a trading account to stall the scammer. Despite her refusal to set up the account, she received an unexpected phone call, where she heard what seemed to be Mr Miles’s voice, discussing busy schedules and investment talks.

Technological Manipulation

This impersonation was facilitated by AI voice cloning technology advancements that can create convincing replicas of a person’s voice with minimal audio samples. While sounding like Mr Miles, the conversation had peculiar inflections that hinted at its artificial origins.

The situation escalated with the scammer sending Ms Madigan a voice message via Telegram, apologising for the hurried conversation and promising future contact regarding the investment. This interaction highlighted the eerily realistic quality of the cloned voice, which could easily deceive individuals unfamiliar with such technology.

Official Responses and Warnings

Upon learning about the misuse of his voice, Ms Miles expressed his dismay, confirming his non-involvement in any investment advisories, especially in cryptocurrencies. He emphasised the importance of vigilance against scams, especially with the approaching October election, urging the public to rely on credible sources for information and report suspicious activities to

Consumer advocacy groups and cybersecurity experts have echoed these concerns, indicating a likely increase in AI scams. They advise the public to be particularly cautious, as the technology used in these scams can also replicate the voices of family members or friends in distress, a tactic aimed at bypassing the emotional defences of potential victims.

The Broader Impact of AI Scams

The misuse of AI scam is not limited to voice cloning. There have been instances of deepfake videos that manipulate public figures’ likenesses to create misleading or harmful content. This growing trend underscores the dual-edged nature of technological advancements, where significant ethical and security challenges counterbalance the benefits of AI.

Experts argue that while the technology is here to stay, public awareness and regulatory measures must be strengthened to protect individuals from these sophisticated scams. Integrating AI into everyday interactions means that people need to be more discerning and cautious, reinforcing personal security measures to combat these emerging threats.

Published 20-May-2024