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Horrifying AI scam copied 'kidnapped' daughter's voice in eerie ransom call to mom

Horrifying AI scam copied 'kidnapped' daughter's voice in eerie ransom call to mom

Evil scammers used AI technology to 'clone' her daughter's voice

Evil scammers used AI to copy a teen’s voice in an attempt to trick her mom into believing she’d been kidnapped.

Jennifer DeStefano received a terrifying phone call purportedly from her 15-year-old daughter Brianne - known as Brie - back in January, with the teen appearing to scream and cry out for her.

DeStefano said she picked up the phone despite not recognising the number as her daughter was away on a ski trip and thought the call may have been important.

But she was left reeling after answering the phone to the ‘kidnapper’, being told she’d need to stump up $1million for the safe return of Brie.

Recalling the horrific incident, DeStefano, from Scottsdale in Arizona, told WKYT: “I pick up the phone and I hear my daughter’s voice, and it says, ‘Mom!’ and she’s sobbing.

“I said, ‘What happened?’ And she said, ‘Mom, I messed up,’ and she’s sobbing and crying."

DeStefano says that at this point a male voice could be heard telling the teen to ‘lie down’ and ‘put her head back down’.

The mom continued: “This man gets on the phone and he’s like, ‘Listen here. I’ve got your daughter. This is how it’s going to go down. You call the police, you call anybody, I’m going to pop her so full of drugs.

Jennifer DeStefano received a terrifying phone call from a scammer who used AI to 'clone' her daughter's voice.

"I’m going to have my way with her and I’m going to drop her off in Mexico.’

“And at that moment, I just started shaking. In the background she’s going, ‘Help me, Mom. Please help me. Help me,’ and bawling.”

The kidnapper told DeStefano he wanted $1million, which he later halved to $500,000.

In a blind panic, terrified DeStefano began to think of how she could possibly pull together such a large sum of money to secure her daughter’s safety.

But little did DeStefano know that rather than in the clutches of a potentially deadly kidnapper in Mexico, Brie was safe and sound on her ski trip.

The scam came to light after another parent, who was with DeStefano when the call came through, called the police and alerted them to the situation.

The scammers tried to get $1 million from the distraught mom.

It later transpired that the scammer had used AI technology to ‘clone’ Brie’s voice so convincingly that even her own mother was fooled.

She told CNN: “The voice sounded just like Brie’s, the inflection, everything. A mother knows her child.

"You can hear your child cry across the building, and you know it’s yours.”

In a statement, the FTC said: "A scammer could use AI to clone the voice of your loved one. All he needs is a short audio clip of your family member’s voice - which he could get from content posted online - and a voice-cloning program.

"When the scammer calls you... (it will) sound just like your loved one."

Featured Image Credit: Facebook / KHPO

Topics: US News, Artificial Intelligence, Technology, Crime