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Online AI Frauds in Canada

How to Protect Yourself Against Online AI Frauds in Canada?


In an era dominated by technology, the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has brought both innovation and challenges, notably in the realm of online content. A recent Maru Public Opinion survey sheds light on a concerning reality: 48% of Canadians express a lack of confidence in distinguishing online and social media content generated by AI from that crafted by humans.

This revelation gains significance as it underscores a broader issue—nearly half of Canadians feel uncertain about discerning between what is real and what is fake. Compounding this, 71% of respondents harbor doubts about the regulatory capabilities of governments in managing companies generating AI content for online and social media use. For individuals, particularly newcomers to Canada, the threat of falling victim to AI-generated fake content becomes more pronounced due to a mix of unfamiliarity with AI content and increased vulnerability in their pursuit of making Canada their new home.

Artificial Intelligence in Canada

The exponential growth of AI has revolutionized various industries, streamlining processes in social media, finance, healthcare, and beyond. While AI brings undeniable benefits, its darker side has seen an uptick in bad actors employing this technology to spread disinformation, perpetrate scams, and victimize individuals. A notable example reported by CBC involves scammers using voice-cloning AI to impersonate a woman’s grandson, resulting in a financial loss of over $7000.

Moreover, the emergence of “deepfakes,” wherein AI is used to create deceptive images and content, poses a significant challenge. Data from Sumsub indicates a rise in the proportion of deepfakes in Canada from 0.1% in 2022 to 4.6% in Q1 2023. While AI undoubtedly benefits Canada, it is imperative for all, especially typically targeted groups like newcomers, to stay vigilant and safeguard against online disinformation.

Tips to Guarding Against Online AI Frauds/ Disinformation

As a newcomer to Canada, it is crucial to recognize that the Canadian government, at both federal and provincial levels, holds the authority on all matters related to immigration and temporary residence. The first line of defense against online disinformation is to verify information through government sources, ensuring the reliability of any piece of information.

The Government of Canada provides a dedicated webpage offering valuable tips on identifying online disinformation, along with tools for fact-checking and additional resources. Some key advice includes:

  1. Fact-Checking with Tools: Utilize online fact-checking tools, such as MediaSmarts Fact search, to verify whether a piece of news has been flagged as fake. Cross-reference information with reliable sources to ensure its authenticity.
  2. Scrutinizing Social Media Accounts: Identify fake social media accounts by examining profile photos, verification status, follower-to-engagement ratio, and typos. Fake accounts often lack a profile picture, have copied images, exhibit consistent typos, and may have a high number of followers with low engagement.
  3. Reverse Image Search: Conduct a reverse image search using platforms like Google to check if an image found online appears elsewhere on the internet. This helps verify the legitimacy of photos and profile pictures.

Navigating the AI Era Safely in Canada Immigration

In a world where AI has become integral to daily life, the responsibility lies with individuals, especially newcomers, to stay informed and vigilant. By embracing the guidance provided by the Canadian government and employing tools to fact-check and verify information, newcomers can shield themselves from the growing threat of online AI frauds.

As Canada continues to harness the benefits of AI, it is essential for everyone, regardless of their digital literacy level, to develop a critical eye for online content. Together, we can create a digital landscape that is not only innovative but also resilient against the challenges posed by AI-generated disinformation. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and make your online journey in Canada secure and empowering.

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