How to Scam People With Technology: A Look at This Emerging Topic

November 14, 2023 - Ellie Gabel

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Technology has undoubtedly brought about some great changes in the world. However, there will always be some people who want to know how to scam people with technology, too. Here are some of the ways they go about it. 

Use AI to Mimic Voices 

Artificial intelligence is getting increasingly advanced. It can find patterns in data much faster than humans could without technological help. However, criminals are also working with AI to make it mimic people’s voices. Usually, they train the algorithms to replicate the voice of someone the victim knows, such as their boss or a family member. 

Learning how to scam people with technology like this could certainly pay off for someone with criminality in mind. It’s easy to imagine how panicked someone would understandably become if they heard the voice of a son or daughter on the end of the phone line, begging for money due to an emergency. 

However, that’s already happening. The Federal Trade Commission has even warned people about AI voice cloning. The guidance from that organization is to ignore the incoming conversation and hang up. After that, connect directly with the person who supposedly called and verify the story with them. That’s the only way to bypass a potential scammer and get the details from the individual who may need help.

Prey on Older Adults Who Are Not Tech-Savvy

Scammers love to capitalize on urgency. They hope stressing how people must act immediately will result in them not thinking things through and falling for carefully planned trickery. It’s also common for people to use technology to scam victims who are less familiar with how tech has progressed over the years. More specifically, they focus on older adults who only use technology occasionally. People from that group probably don’t keep up with the latest tech scams, making it even more likely they’ll believe a criminal’s efforts. 

As parties with ill intentions learn how to scam people with technology, they often use older tactics for inspiration. Building upon those allows them to save time while still orchestrating realistic attacks. 

One example is the three-phase phantom-hacker scam, which starts with someone posing as a tech support representative. The main difference between the phantom-hacker scam and the ones that just featured someone offering to “fix” someone’s computer is that the trickery extends to more parties. 

A victim initially engages with someone pretending to be a tech support staff member. However, they’ll also talk to someone posing as a bank representative, and then, finally, someone who says they’re a government official. 

Another reason why scammers most frequently target older adults with this approach is that they have their sights set on people’s retirement or investment accounts. Those are likely to have more in them during someone’s later life phases. 

Gain People’s Trust With Psychological Manipulation

Some tech-driven scams rely on human behavior to succeed. Social engineering attacks are perfect examples. Most people are more likely to do what others want if they trust them. Once a criminal learns how to scam people with technology, they may want to take their time with each victim. 

What that often looks like within the realm of social engineering attacks is that a cybercriminal may break into someone’s internet-based systems and spend weeks or months getting to know about them and how they communicate with others. Then, they can use all the information gathered during that time to accurately impersonate someone the victim will believe. 

Hackers may also use widely available information to fool others. That happened in a cyberattack that affected MGM Resorts and caused nearly $52 million in lost revenue. 

Everything started when the criminal found the victim’s information on LinkedIn, and then posed as that person. They contacted MGM’s IT department to request a password reset, and got it. The simple act of asking for a new password ultimately gave the hacker control over virtually all of MGM Resorts’ systems. 

Something similar happened to customers who use Okta’s identity management and access control solutions. Hackers targeted parties with high-level administrative privileges. They posed as those individuals when calling IT departments, convincing the people on the phone to change multifactor authentication (MFA) that allowed them to log in and wreak havoc in the affected organizations. 

Focus on the Fear Factor

Although it’s common for scammers to insist that victims take urgent action, some also use fear to get the desired reactions. For example, a cybercriminal orchestrating a phishing scam might pose as someone from the tax authorities or a person’s employer. The message a recipient gets could insist that if a person doesn’t provide their details immediately, they’ll be caught in dire consequences. 

This theme is also why AI voice scams have become so popular. Most people will think they can believe what they hear on the other end of a phone line. So, if the caller sounds like a loved one, they’ll act without mulling things over. The situation is similar if a person gets convinced they’ll face jail time or receive their paycheck late for failing to respond to a message. 

Knowing how to scare people with technology this way means becoming familiar with how a representative from a given organization or department, such as payroll, would engage with a person. That may mean a criminal spends weeks pulling off a social engineering attack to learn about the wording choices a particular team uses.

Eliminate Spelling and Grammar Errors

Email is undoubtedly one of the most popular types of technology used for scamming. Someone could craft a deceitful email in a matter of minutes, and then send it out to a huge recipient list. However, the scam content was traditionally full of misspelled words, improper grammar and strange capitalization choices. 

Now, many people know to look for those and consider them red flags before responding to email scams. However, an increasing number of scammers know they can’t afford to have such mistakes in their content. That’s why some are using tools such as ChatGPT to write messages faster and reduce the chances of suspicious errors. 

Anyone who wants the best chance of fooling someone must cut out those mistakes and ideally get rid of the broad greetings. Starting a message with “Dear valued customer” probably won’t receive as much attention as one that greets a person by their first name. 

Knowing How to Scam People With Technology Is Valuable

It’s probably clear that we don’t suggest anyone should use the tips here to plan tech-based scams. However, the information here is useful because it tells people how scammers operate. Those details should make it easier for people to recognize and avoid attempts to trick them. 

Revolutionized is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn more here.


Ellie Gabel

Ellie Gabel is a science writer specializing in astronomy and environmental science and is the Associate Editor of Revolutionized. Ellie's love of science stems from reading Richard Dawkins books and her favorite science magazines as a child, where she fell in love with the experiments included in each edition.

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