Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Ronsenworcel recently announced a proposed directive to focus the FCC on AI’s burgeoning role in scam calls, particularly those targeting the elderly. The proposal will be presented at the November 15 commission meeting and would direct research into the strengths and weaknesses of generative AI, the role that AI plays in scamming consumers, and the role that AI may play in enforcing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
This proposal is very timely. We’ve written about the proliferation of AI–voice scamming, including the importance of training and awareness of this new threat. Elder financial scams are a particular area for concern to cybersecurity professionals and consumer protection advocates, given that elder fraud losses increased by 391.9 percent ($343 million to $1.685 billion) from 2017 to 2021, and financial loss due to confidence schemes targeting elderly consumers is notoriously underreported. As generative AI blurs the lines between real life and simulation, effective consumer protection will depend on robust regulation, education, and law enforcement efforts.