Search on TFTC
How to Avoid the AI-Enabled Scammers Coming for your Bitcoin

How to Avoid the AI-Enabled Scammers Coming for your Bitcoin

Oct 23, 2023
Marty's Ƀent

How to Avoid the AI-Enabled Scammers Coming for your Bitcoin

Here's something that you should be aware of, the rise of sophisticated AI-enabled scams that attempt to get you to part ways with your stack. Especially as the price of bitcoin breaks out above $33,000 on news that the bitcoin ETF approval seems to be imminent as BlackRock has officially been designated an ETF ticker by the DTCC ($IBTC) and a CUSIP number. Both of which signal that this paper bitcoin product is coming sooner rather than later.

If the hype is real, the BlackRock ETF gets approved and the "tsunami of capital" that people are claiming is going to flood into the market does come in, it means that the price of bitcoin is going to increase materially from where it sits today. Millions of people are about to see their net worth increase and thousands of scammers are going to try to get those holding bitcoin to part ways with their stash by using truly evil tactics.

One of the popular tactics that I believe will rise in prominence is the tactic described in the Twitter clip above; scammers impersonating an individual's loved ones using AI tools that can mimic voices with creepy precision. You will get a call from a random number and when you answer an intimidating voice will proclaim that they have kidnapped someone you love. They will then pretend to hand over the phone to that loved who will manically explain how they have been kidnapped and they need you to send the kidnappers bitcoin so that they can be released. The voice will sound exactly like your mother, father, brother, sister, child, cousin, or friend and your emotions will be triggered in ways you never thought possible. Again, this is a truly diabolical way of scamming people out of there bitcoin.

Since we know that this tactic exists and that it is being used against people right now, it is probably best to prepare for a scenario in which the scammers call you and try to get you to send them bitcoin. Here are a few things you can do to prepare for this.

  1. Don't answer calls from "Scam Likely" phone numbers. Your phone provider is warning you about this for a reason.
  2. Make your family aware of this type of attack as soon as possible. It is likely that the scammers will try to target less tech-savvy individuals who are completely unaware of the sophisticated nature of AI. If we're being honest, they'll target the mothers the most. Mothers will do anything to make sure their kids are safe. Including follow the orders of a "kidnapper" who is walking them through the step-by-step process of purchasing bitcoin from Cash App, Venmo or PayPal and sending it to an external wallet. Let them know that this attack exists and these are clues they should be looking out for.
  3. Create a verification protocol with your loved ones. It could be as simple as a code word that is only used in this specific scenario. If the person on the other side of the phone says the correct code word you can assume they have been kidnapped and are actually being held hostage. If they refuse to say the code word you can assume it's an AI mimicking your mother's voice.
  4. Try contacting the person being impersonated while you're on the phone via text message or calling them from a different phone. Don't trust the kidnappers, verify.
  5. Help normalize the storage of large amounts of bitcoin in geographically distributed multisig quorums that make moving bitcoin a process that takes days. If scammers know that most people with material amounts of bitcoin can't move it easily they will be less incentivized to wage the attack in the first place. Though, this type of scammer will likely mass target smaller fish.
  6. Don't talk about owning bitcoin publicly like I do.

At the end of the day, it is going to be very hard to protect people from this attack. There are a lot of gullible individuals out there. The best we can do is try to make as many as possible aware that this could happen to them and to mentally prepare for the day when they get the call from a random number.

Final thought...

Happy I never answer random numbers. Sorry for all of those I know whose numbers aren't saved in my phone.


Current Block Height

Current Mempool Size

Current Difficulty