As technology evolves, the presence of artificial intelligence in our daily lives is on the rise. Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a computer or software method that mimics human cognitive abilities such as memory, pattern recognition, and reasoning. AI is used extensively for a range of applications, from the simplest tasks to incredibly complex ones.
Artificial intelligence can be found behind the scenes for items ranging from television show recommendations to weather predictions. And AI offers advantages, making our lives more efficient and convenient in many areas.
But we have to stay mindful of potential risks and vulnerabilities, such as the potential for AI systems to become targets for hacking or exploitation. To protect our digital well-being, it's crucial to remain knowledgeable about the latest security measures and best practices.
And remember, if you're ever uncertain about a message or call, feel free to reach out. Here’s our guide to today’s top common AI threats —and what you can do to stay safe.
What is an AI scam?
An AI scam is when someone uses AI to deceive or trick others into giving away sensitive information, like passwords or personal details. These scammers may impersonate trusted sources, like customer service bots or AI-driven websites, to gain your trust and manipulate you into doing things you shouldn't.
Common types of attacks
Here are a few common—but serious—online scams to watch out for.
In this type of attack, the scammer fabricates a scenario or story to trick the person into releasing personal information. This often includes creating a false identity (or using one obtained through identity theft) or pretending to be someone trustworthy, like IT support or a coworker.
Some even report faux Verizon scam texts or phone calls, from a bad-actor pretending to be Verizon. If you receive fake Verizon texts, do not reply, and never provide them with personal information. Check out the “Phishing” section for more info about this kind of scam.
Remember: Verizon will never ask for personal or account information by email or text message.
The term “malware” includes viruses and other forms of harmful software designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a device’s system. Mobile malware can do real harm—primarily by stealing your personal data—when it gets into your phone through fake ads, dodgy attachments, or unvetted apps.
Phishing is a type of scam used by cybercriminals to steal your personal information. It might be a text from someone pretending to be your boss, a Facebook® platform friend request from a phony account on your Facebook® social media page, or a fake email from an online retailer asking you to update your credit card number. Often, phishing attacks look legit and with the use of AI, they are getting even more realistic.
Phishing is the most commonly known term, and specifically refers to email. But there are other variations, too, like smishing (SMS messages) and vishing (voice phishing or contact impersonation). These voice scams often rely on a false sense of urgency to convince targets to immediately take action. Check out our guide on how to spot a phishing scam.
How to avoid AI security threats
Some places, situations, or practices pose a risk to your cell phone security. Here are a few Verizon security tips about what to avoid and things you can do to keep your phone—and the personal information on it—safe from future attacks.
Skip public Wi-Fi networks
Public networks, like those found in airports or coffee shops, aren’t secure. As a rule, avoid them. Private networks with passwords are much safer.
If you sign on to an unsecured network, make sure you don’t do anything with your credit card, bank account, or personal information.
Only use official app stores
Make sure you only download apps from well-known app stores like Google Play™ and the Apple® App Store® online marketplace , which vet their products. Buying from untrusted sites could lead to malware or other viruses on your phone and other tech.
Use a VPN
Add another layer of protection for you and your employer when you’re working remotely by setting up a virtual private network (VPN). This creates a secure, encrypted connection between your device and remote server, protecting you from hackers and protecting sensitive company information. Learn more in our VPN guide.
Lock your screen
One of the best ways to keep your phone safe is to lock it with your face, fingerprint, pattern, or personal identification number (PIN). That way, if you lose your phone (or someone steals it), nobody will be able to access it.
Always use strong passwords
Don’t share personal information on social media
Be cautious when sharing personal information on social media sites like Facebook® or Instagram. Hackers scour these sites for personal phone numbers, birthdates, addresses, and other information to try to steal your identity. Think twice if someone reaches out about something that sounds too good to be true. Malicious users manipulate emotions to gain access to sensitive information.
Tried these steps and still need help? Our experts have your back. Get your tech problems solved when you call 844-288-2146.
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Need help backing up your smartphone, using Wi-Fi calling or connecting to Bluetooth®? Don’t sweat it. We’re here to help, 24/7.
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