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Mississippians warned to steer clear of increasing AI investment scams

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Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson is urging residents to be on the alert for potential investment scams in which artificial intelligence (AI) is used to compromise the sensitive information of victims.

Investment fraud is already a rising threat in the United States, Watson warns. With the aid of AI, experts suggest that it is virtually unstoppable without intervention. Scammers have been known to use AI to impersonate other people, including investment advisors.

“While we continue to promote technological advances and business growth, it is imperative we remain vigilant in our uses and interactions with AI,” Watson said. “Unfortunately, all Mississippians are susceptible to this rapidly developing threat.”

Statistics reveal that Mississippians are frequent victims of fraud. A 2023 report indicates that Mississippi is the No. 1 state for spam calls received. Most investment scammers start with phone calls, often impersonating others using AI-generated audio.

RELATED: Attorney general urges FCC to update regulations against automated calls

Investment fraud has a dangerous potential to cause financial devastation. AI can equip fraudulent investors with fake videos, websites, and materials to appear legitimate.

Mississippi law requires investments and the person offering them to be registered, meaning residents have an onus to always verify this information before investing their money.

Punishable by law, this crime is urged to be reported when seen or suspected. Sacrificing personal security for what appears to be a good investment is never worth the risk, the secretary contends.

Here is a list of steps residents can take to best protect themselves from AI investment scams, according to Watson:

  • Do not respond to suspicious messages from unrecognized phone numbers or email addresses.
  • Never send money to an investment company without verifying it first. Your financial information could be immediately compromised.
  • Be cautious about endorsements of certain investments. The “celebrity personalities” behind these endorsements may also be fraudulent.
  • Utilize trusted sources, such as the Secretary of State’s Office, to test the validity of questionable investments.
  • Raise awareness about the growing threat of fraud in our state. Educate yourself so you can help protect your family and friends from becoming victims.

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