This mom got the scariest phone call of her life.
On the other end, she hears her daughter crying.
She is crying, saying: “Mom, I messed up.”
Then a man gets on the line and claims he’s kidnapped her 15-year-old daughter, Brie.
He says: “Listen here, I have your daughter. You’re not going to call anyone, you are not going to call the cops.”
“And I just I put the phone on mute and started screaming for help,” she tells Inside Edition.
The kidnappers demand $1 million before reducing it to $50,000.
But here’s the thing — her daughter had not been kidnapped and it was not her begging mom for help.
Her voice had been duplicated by a scammer using artificial intelligence.
Even her own mother could not tell the difference.
“I did not for a second doubt her voice,” Brie’s mom, Jennifer DeStefano, tells Inside Edition.
AI expert Hany Farid, who is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, showed how easy it can be to clone a voice by doing just that with Inside Edition’s Alison Hall.
“I went over to YouTube and I searched for your name and I found an interview that you gave, it took me all of five seconds to do that. I uploaded that to a web service that I paid $5 a month for and in about 30 seconds it cloned your voice,” Farid says. “I typed what I wanted you to say and it handed me an audio file back. That whole thing took me under five minutes to do.”
Meanwhile, Brie’s mom lucked out, because she decided to call her daughter before paying a ransom.
“I was skiing with my little brother,” Brie tells Inside Edition. “My mom called me and she was crying, bawling. It gives me goosebumps because her voice was so real.”
Brie has no idea how the scammer has got a sample of her voice that they use to create the phony kidnapping script.