Watch out for new AI software ads


INDIANAPOLIS – As more of us get used to emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technology, federal regulators are warning consumers to beware of scammers looking to cash in on the nation’s new fascination.

The Federal Trade Commission says it’s already receiving reports of scam artists posting ads on social media and search engines using fake AI tools and software. Somehow, the FTC says, the bad guys managed to go undetected by systems designed to block malicious ads and antivirus software.

If you click on one of these ads, it will take you to a cloned website that installs malware on your computer or device. Or, it will take you to the real software’s website and install the malware through a “backdoor” that makes it difficult for you to know you’ve been hacked.

Once the malware is installed, hackers are in and can start taking your information to sell to other cyber crooks.

While some ads may seem realistic and deceptive, the FTC says there’s an easy way to avoid being hacked. Do not press on them. If you see an ad for the software you’re interested in, go directly to the website by typing the address instead of clicking on the ad. If you don’t know the web address, search for the software name.

However, keep in mind that the bad guys are placing their ads on search engines and may show up in your search results under the “advertisement” or “sponsored” banner. Scroll past those to get to your real search results.

The FTC also recommends installing anti-virus software on your computer to protect against such deceptive ads. The FTC has tips for doing just that, as well as removing malware and recovering a hacked account on its website.

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