“Seeing is believing” is no longer a phrase we can use. With artificial intelligence (AI) technology becoming more sophisticated and more accessible, nearly anyone can create realistic-looking images and videos. Unfortunately, this also means scammers can now use AI images and videos to lend credibility to their tricks. AI videos and images can make a phony celebrity endorsement look real or convince family members of a fake emergency.
BBB provides the following tips for recognizing AI-generated images:
Look at the context for red flags. AI capabilities are advancing at an incredible rate, making it very hard to spot fakes. The most reliable cause for suspicion may be the context in which you see a potentially faked image or hear a voice. If the image or voice is being used with pressure to take an urgent action, one that seems questionable, such as sending money to a stranger, or through an unexpected or odd payment mechanism? Is the context political, and does it seem like someone is trying to make you feel angry or emotional? If the image or voice is one of a friend or loved one, don’t respond to any requests that come with it before you contact that person offline to see if it’s a genuine message.
Find a high-resolution image and zoom in. If you see a surprising photo of a politician or celebrity, look closer before you believe what’s in the picture. Search the image in the highest-possible resolution and then zoom in. You’ll likely find a few flaws if you’re looking at an AI-generated image.
Consider physical inconsistencies – but be careful. In less sophisticated versions of AI, you might find asymmetry in human faces, teeth, and hands. You might notice hands with too many or too few fingers. Ears, fingers, or feet, may be disproportionately large or small. However, AI technology is already advancing, and as time goes by, these mistakes will show up less often.
BBB provides the following tips on how to identify AI-generated videos:
Look out for strange shadows, blurs, or light flickers. In some AI-generated videos, shadows or light may appear to flicker only on the face of the person speaking or possibly only in the background. This is especially true of low-quality deep fake videos.
Unnatural body language. AI can have a hard time replicating actual humans. If the body language feels off, it’s time to question the veracity of the video you’re watching.
Take a closer listen. Listen for choppy sentences, confusing inflection, or background sounds that don’t match the speaker’s location are all dead giveaways.
BBB recommends the following to verify that a photo or video is authentic
Check the source. Try to trace the photo back to the original post to see who shared the image or video and why they shared it. If it shows shocking political events or messages, ask yourself if the news is on social media or mainstream media. Why might mainstream media be hesitant to pick up the story?
Do a reverse image search. If you’re having trouble figuring out where an image came from, try a reverse image search. This can bring up all the websites where the image has been shared, which can help you understand the context of the image and its origins.
Be prepared for change. AI technology will continue to evolve and improve, so that these tips will change, too. The best thing you can do is be aware that fake videos and images exist and always fact-check what you see before you believe it.
About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.