Scammers phishing for information use complex AI tools—you should too

Two colorfully dressed friends sitting at a laptop learn about Genie, a new AI tool to help them detect complex phishing scams.

Messages that lure us into revealing personal information to scammers are getting harder to detect, thanks to AI. Genie uses AI to fight back.

Remember when you would read a grammar-tragic email with a try-hard subject line, and you could hit “report spam” and get on with your day in less than three seconds?

Those days, which we will soon look back on as the primitive days of phishing scams, are going away. Today, in the age of artificial intelligence (AI), even seasoned internet veterans can struggle to distinguish genuine messages from meticulously crafted digital scams.

What’s needed is an AI-powered solution to push back against advanced schemes. That solution is here, and it’s called Norton Genie.

Scammers are using AI to create convincing phishing and messaging scams

Some projections estimate that cybercrime cost the world $8 trillion in 2023. In the U.S. alone, the FBI IC3 Report indicates that phishing cost businesses and consumers $52 million in 2022. These are hard figures for criminals to ignore, and they’re taking action.

This is the new nature of the online world. Scammers and con artists are embracing AI alongside businesses and creators, wielding AI to forge personalized phishing messages, social media scams, and SMS swindles, each tailored to their targets, and preying on unique vulnerabilities.

The real digital deceivers in the world are moving away from broad, clunky scams. Even so-called "script kiddies," widely regarded as entry-level hackers, are wielding AI tools that automate scam creation. Access to sophisticated tools enables them to construct scams far beyond their skills and experience, making them a significant threat to everyone.

To help illustrate this, below is an example of an email recently received by a member of our team. The personalized details have been omitted:

Reminder for your upcoming auto-renewal

###### Services LLC
Annual Subscription
Manager: James ####

Transaction Confirmation: 56223117/339

Renewal Confirmed: Thank you!

Hey ######, Your Elite Subscription renewal is coming soon. We'll charge you $340.39 for your continued membership within 12 hours since your account is set to auto-renew.

Name of member- ##### #####
Member Id- 48784-1183-3917

Payment Id- 56223117/339
Membership Tier- Elite
Due Amount- $340.39

For any help contact us by calling (888)-###-####.

I would appreciate it if you did not reply to this email. The email was generated by the system.

Thank you again for your business this year!

This email came from a recognizable company and was addressed to our team member’s full name. The layout of the email is professional. The grammar is good, and the tone is friendly, personable, and what you would expect from a service provider.

All the same, it’s still a scam.

The message above asks the recipient to ignore that the return email address isn’t valid, and instead call a phone number within 12 hours. Once on the phone, the scammer poses as a fake representative and attempts to lure them into revealing their credit card.

Because AI creates opportunities like this for scammers, we created Genie to position AI to counter their schemes. Genie is more than a scam detector, it’s an intelligent companion, a digital master detective that guides you through the labyrinth of messages flooding your inbox and social media feeds.

Genie leverages AI trained using decades of data collected by Gen to dissect the nuances of any message, uncovering inconsistencies and red flags that might slip past the human eye. It delves into sender information, cross-checks links, and uses language analysis to unravel the truth behind seemingly innocent messages.

Genie AI helps protect across continents and cultures

For several months, Genie has been hard at work in an early access program, combining the backlog of Norton scam data with the latest real-time tactics from scam artists. This early work has revealed one crucial truth: the fight against digital deception must work at a global scale.

Scammers use similar attacks worldwide, but the specifics of their tactics often shift with culture and context. Genie has already seen this in action.

In the trial period, early adopters from the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, India, and beyond scanned nearly 100,000 messages. While phishing attacks through email and SMS ranked at the top globally, regional variations painted a more interesting picture.

In the United Kingdom, for instance, fraudsters favored unclaimed package scams, while Americans and New Zealanders were targeted with the promise of quick riches through advance fee schemes. These nuances illustrate the importance of AI that can cross cultures and understand context.

In this trial stage, Genie's AI identified a staggering 41.8% of the scanned messages as fraudulent—nearly half the suspicious messages users tested. When a user has even the slightest sense that something isn’t quite right, they provide Genie with a screenshot of any message and instantly receive an informed and educated second opinion.

Genie AI adapts over time

Genie isn’t a static program that depends on you to update it. It's constantly evolving on its own, learning from every interaction it has with its users. This means Genie stays ahead of the curve, recognizing ever-more sophisticated scam tactics as they come into circulation.

The need for Genie is undeniable. Phishing, smishing, and email spam aren't just nuisances; they're targeted attacks on individuals, families, and businesses. With the number of these attacks skyrocketing, having a reliable AI protector in your corner is more crucial than ever.

So, the next time you encounter a message that raises an eyebrow, don't fret. Let Genie analyze, dissect, and expose the potential digital deceptions at play. Try Genie for free, and push back against AI-powered predators. Knowledge is power, and in the digital age, Genie is your powerful defender.

Clare Stouffer
  • Clare Stouffer
  • Gen employee
Clare Stouffer, a Gen employee, is a writer and editor for the company’s blogs. She covers various topics in cybersecurity.

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc. 


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