You're probably well aware that scams have a way of evolving over the years, starting out one way, having success, then changing certain parts of the scam as potential victims become aware of how it works.

Scam artists have used the "loved one in trouble" scam for years, in which they convince their potential targets that the target's child, grandchild, nephew, or niece has gotten into trouble (usually with law enforcement), and that the target needs to come up with some cash in a hurry to save their loved one from further problems.

A suburban Chicago-area woman was recently taken for thousands of dollars with this scam, and now Illinois' Attorney General, Kwame Raoul says the scam has gotten even trickier thanks to the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

Getty Images
Getty Images

In Some Cases, All It Takes Is A Snippet Of Audio From A Social Media Post Or A YouTube Video To Give The Scammers What They Need

And what they need and want is a "clone" of your (or anyone's) voice, so that they can make that cloned voice say just about anything and still sound exactly like the real person whose voice audio has been cloned to begin with.

Illinois AG Kwame Raoul:

These criminals are very good and convincing at what they do. Their goal is to catch you off guard, scare you into sending payment and disappear before you realize what happened.

Getting a call from what sounds like a family member in distress is upsetting, but you may not be able to trust the identity of the voice on the line. Take a deep breath, slow down and take steps to confirm the identity of the caller, especially if they are pushing you to send a payment or disclose personal information.

Human hands holding the words Fake and Real. Making decision concept.
Sometimes, it's nearly impossible to tell. (Getty Images)

There Are Some Red Flags To Be Aware Of So This Sort Of Thing Doesn't Happen To You Or Someone You Know

The reason the scam works so well is that scammers really pressure their victims, so that the victim doesn't have time to think over what's going on, causing them to go along with what the scammers want.

Here are some things you should be aware of to lessen the chances of you getting taken, according to AG Raoul:

    • Scammers Come to You: be wary of unsolicited emails, calls, or texts.
    • Scammers Pressure You to Act Quickly: they try to get you to send payment before you get a chance to think about it or discuss it with a trusted family member or friend.
    • Scammers Want Your Personal Information: pretty self-explanatory.
    • Scammers Want You to Pay in Unusual Ways: They may ask you to buy a gift card and read the numbers, wire money, set up a cryptocurrency account, or use a peer-to-peer app to send money directly to them. Once you've given them those numbers, they're gone.
    • If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is: Again, something that we've heard before, but people sometimes forget that and get scammed.

LOOK: The biggest scams today and how you can protect yourself from them

Using data from the BBB Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report, Stacker identified the most common and costly types of scams in 2022.

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