By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Nov. 1, 2023 7:32PM GMT+9
South Korean police arrested 51 individuals for their involvement in telephone fraud after receiving assistance from an artificial intelligence model specifically designed to combat phone scams, according to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety on Tuesday.
In a press release, the Interior Ministry stated that the police have captured members of three different phone scamming criminal organizations accused of extorting approximately 600 million won ($450,000) from victims. According to the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police, although the criminals did not possess sexual images of victims, which they claimed to, they threatened and blackmailed their targets by stating they would share them online unless a sum of money was paid by a certain time in order to stop it.
The South Korean government explained that the massive capture was carried out with the help of an AI-integrated voice analysis model developed by the Ministry’s Integrated Data Analysis Center and the National Forensic Service (NFS) early this year to counter phone scams. The two organizations worked together to develop an AI model able to gather proof against criminals in ongoing investigations as well as detect clues that heretofore were difficult to identify as being significant.
According to the statement, the police arrested five scammers in May while conducting a crackdown on devices able to manipulate phone numbers. They used the new AI model to discover their culpability by conducting a one-on-one comparison between the voices of suspects and the audio files received from the victims. After discovering that they were dealing with the same criminals, the police requested that the NFS conduct an in-depth investigation to learn if the suspects were involved with any other criminal activities. The NFS compared the voices of the scammers to the more than 13,000 audio files that make up their database and discovered that the recordings connect the criminals to seventeen other cases, including a number that were unsolved.
As of October, the police have arrested sixteen suspects and captured more than thirty accomplices using the new AI model. They expect these numbers will increase, as they are in the process of capturing additional criminals.
“We developed a separate version that is lighter than the original model and distributed it to the police to be used with ease in the field,” said an NFS official to The Readable. The official added that the model boasts a 97% accuracy rate in connecting voice samples from separate sources and identifying them as coming from the same speaker.
The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang. This article was copyedited by Arthur Gregory Willers.
Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.