- Increased consumer vigilance urged as AI generated scams enhance the threat to this year’s festive shoppers, as it’s revealed over 7 in 10 British people worry that AI will make it easier for criminals to commit online fraud.
- Shoppers lost over £10 million to cyber criminals during last year’s festive shopping period, with 25–34 year olds most likely to fall victim.
- National campaign launched to promote Cyber Aware behaviours to help shoppers protect themselves online.
Cyber security chiefs are encouraging Black Friday bargain hunters to increase their vigilance this shopping season as online fraudsters are likely to use artificial intelligence (AI) to increase the perceived legitimacy of their scams.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – which is a part of the UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ – is warning that cyber criminals are likely to use AI technology such as large language models to produce more convincing scam emails, fake adverts, and bogus websites.
While AI offers huge opportunities for society, it can also be exploited by fraudsters to help them produce accurate and professional looking content intended to dupe victims into giving away their financial details or download malware on an increasingly large scale.
The warning comes as new data from Revealing Reality/Yonder found that 72% of British people are worried that new technology such as AI will make it easier for criminals to commit online fraud.
Previously, scams could often be identified by features such as poor grammar or spelling, come from an unusual email address, or feature imagery or design that feels ‘off’. But while AI might generate more polished communication in phishing attempts, many of the typical hallmarks of a scam remain the same.
The NCSC is urging shoppers to look out for:
Urgency: Are you told you only have a limited time to respond? Criminals often threaten negative consequences or costs.
Scarcity: Is the message offering something in short supply? Fear of missing out on a good deal can make you respond quickly.
Current events, such as Black Friday: Criminals will often exploit current news stories or specific times of year to make their scam seem more relevant.