As the use of artificial intelligence increases, fraudsters are increasingly using it in their scams and Canadians are taking notice. According to RBC’s annual Fraud Prevention Month Poll, 75% of respondents are more concerned about fraud than ever before. Nine in ten Canadians also believe the use of AI will increase scam attempts over the next year (88%) and could make everyone more vulnerable to fraud (89%).

Four in five Canadians believe that AI will make fraud attempts by phone harder to detect (81%). The same percentage of respondents are concerned about voice cloning and impersonation scams (81%).

“With the recent rise in voice cloning and deepfakes, fraudsters are able to employ a new level of sophistication to phone and online scams,” said Kevin Purkiss, vice president, Fraud Management, RBC.

“The good news is that awareness of these types of scams is high. But we also need to take action to safeguard ourselves from fraudsters.”

The research also found that phishing (generic scams through email or text), spear phishing (emails or texts that look legitimate) and vishing (targeted phone or voicemail scams) continue to rank in the top three types of fraud. More than half also say they have seen an increase in deepfake scams (56%). Almost half (47%) say voice cloning scams are on the rise.

Trends in social engineering, social media targeting and fraud spotting

More than half of poll respondents (57%) have seen an increase in social engineering scams. Three quarters (76%) express concern about them. Four in five (82%) believe these scams will increase as people deal with economic challenges.

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More than half (53%) say they are being targeted by fraudsters more than ever through social media.

Canadians may be overestimating their ability to spot the signs of AI-enabled fraud. Almost two thirds of respondents (64%) feel confident about recognising an AI-enabled scam developed by fraudsters.

There has been a decrease in respondents proactively keeping themselves safe. Only 28% have recently taking added steps to protect themselves (down from 36% in 2023).