The AI Effect: Revisiting the MCA’s 5 Tips to Slam the Scam

​As the world celebrates World Consumer Rights Day 2024, the topic of 'fair and responsible artificial intelligence (AI) for consumers' takes centre stage. This theme strongly resonates with the MCA's mandate to safeguard and promote a communi​cations environment that is conducive to social well-being, particularly when considering how ubiquitous connectivity is facilitating an acceleration in the adoption and use of such AI tools.

Such rapid advancement and take up of AI is stimulating discussions about its responsible and fair use, particularly where AI is used for 'generative' purposes. With more advanced AI tools becoming available on a regular basis, the potential for transformative effects ranges across various domains, including how people work and interact with one another, as well as in the domain of content generation, having effects on both content creation and consumption. Unfortunately, the potential for deploying such tools to create and spread convincing, malicious content did not go unnoticed by scammers.

In light of these developments, it's crucial to reexamine conventional wisdom and assess whether traditional safeguards against scams are still effective in the era of AI. In this article, we assess the continued relevance of our '5 Tips to Slam the Scam' in the context of safeguarding consumers from such AI-based scams.


In a time where AI can generate convincingly deceptive content, being informed about emerging scamming techniques is more critical than ever. For instance, AI is facilitating the creation of “deepfakes" (highly realistic fake content), such as realistic videos or photos impersonating high-profile individuals, which are then used to target individuals with more convincing offers or threats, thus making the scam more effective. Additionally, AI-generated content is making “phishing" emails and messages much more sophisticated, mimicking the writing style and patterns of genuine senders to deceive recipients. AI also makes it easier for scammers to generate content in different languages. Staying informed on how AI can be misused by the scammers remains a crucial first line of defence.


Besides the need to be informed of AI-powered scams, staying sharp and vigilant is critical for individuals to be able to detect, and avoid, a potential scam. AI chatbots, for instance, are being used by scammers to engage in automated conversations with unsuspecting victims. These 'bots' can efficiently simulate believable responses, making the victim think that a real person is reaching out to them. Caught off guard, individuals may find it challenging to realise that the conversation is not genuine! Vigilance, at all times, is therefore as critical as ever! Always be cautious when requested to share sensitive information, such as bank account details and credit card information, and never disclose passwords or PINs.


Adopting a practical mindset is still an effective means to protect yourself against scams, even when these rely on AI. Such a mindset can give you the confidence to dismiss fake news, misinformation or fake products listings, even where these are produced to high standard and communicated in familiar channels, such as social media or well-known eCommerce platforms. By seeking advice from trusted individuals or entities, and verifying the credibility of sources, consumers can mitigate the risk of being misled, and potentialy scammed, by such tactics. And of course, be wary when you receive an offer which is too good to be true: it is generally nothing but a scam!

4 – BE WISE!

Wisdom, in the face of AI-generated scams, entails exercising good judgment, and a dose of scepticism, in all online interactions! For example, scammers can use advanced AIs to generate 'synthesized' voices that sound just like trusted individuals, such as family members or colleagues. By using such voices in phone calls or voice messages, they can trick victims into disclosing sensitive information or performing unauthorized transactions. Be wise, and always verify the authenticity of communications: do not let perceived familiarity to be used against you! What if you receive a suspicious communication claiming to be from a person you know, or from an employee of a reputable company, and you have doubts on whether it is genuine? In such cases, stop the communication immediately, and reach out to this person or company yourself. For persons you know, it is advisable to use another channel, if possible, for instance, reach out to the person over the phone if the suspicious communication was received via an online messenger. For companies, reach out to the company using its publicly advertised contact channels only.


Regardless of whether a scam involved the use of AI or otherwise, acting swiftly when getting caught up in a scam is still crucially important to minimise harm, both to the victim and everybody else. It could be argued that this is more important than ever, as AI tools are helping scammers develop systems that can spread from victim to victim far quicker than ever before, and most times, in an autonomous manner. Promptly reporting incidents to the police and seeking immediate assistance can lower the impact of such scams, and stop it from spreading further. You may get help from your bank if the scam involved a financial transaction, or from your telephony provider if the scam affected your mobile device, monetary credit or telephony bill.


In conclusion, while the MCA recognises that scams are evolving rapidly as they leverage AI tools, the fundamental principles of awareness, vigilance, practicality, wisdom, and prompt action remain indispensable safeguards against scammers and their malicious practices. By embracing the principles behind these five scam-busting tips, consumers can continue to navigate the digital landscape with confidence, drawing the maximum benefit from the connectivity that links us all together.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this article has been prepared by the MCA and is intended for information purposes only and should not be construed as being legal advice given by the MCA.