Scots have been warned that the rise of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence (AI) is making scams harder to spot.
Advice Direct Scotland said AI is now playing a “major part” in the ways scammers target people – with schemes becoming more sophisticated and difficult to detect.
The charity said that previously, one of the main signs of a digital scam was bad spelling or poor use of English, which could clue targets into if an email or message was fraudulent.
Now, scammers can use AI platforms like ChatGPT which uses natural language processing to create human-like dialogue to seem more believable. They can also use AI image generators to create fake celebrity endorsements that appear real.
Advice Direct Scotland, which runs the consumeradvice.scot service and scamwatch.scot website where scams can be reported, said people should be more alert and think carefully before engaging with anyone asking for personal information.
Its experts said people should always look closely at images in emails and on social media or text messages and consider whether the background or those pictured look realistic.
People are also advised to look at the senders’ email address and to always check with the original source if they are in any doubt.
Over the past year, the number of scams reported to Advice Direct Scotland has increased by a third, with AI tactics now being used across the board.
consumeradvice.scot provides free, impartial and practical advice on a range of issues including scams, issues with products and services, and consumer rights.
Conor Forbes, director of policy with Advice Direct Scotland, said: “Scammers are constantly adapting their methods to target people more effectively, and we know that AI is now playing a major part in their tactics.
“The use of AI makes it a lot harder for people to spot scams because it can make emails and images look far more believable.
“People should always be vigilant and pause before interacting with emails, text messages or social media adverts.
“Look closely at images and whether they look realistic, for example, does the person pictured have all five fingers, and does the background appear to be real.
“If there’s any doubt whatsoever, check with the original source before parting with any type of personal information – even if you think it looks legitimate overall.
“The most effective way to stop scammers in their tracks is to report a scam to scamwatch.scot when you see one.
“Remember there is no shame in being scammed, and anyone who is concerned should contact one of our specialist advisers for free, impartial and practical advice on 0808 164 6000 or via www.consumeradvice.scot.”