Scamio – The Online, Cross-Platform, AI-Enabled Scam Detector We All Needed

Scamio The Online Cross Platform AI Enabled Scam Detector We All NeededScamio The Online Cross Platform AI Enabled Scam Detector We All Needed

Key Points

  • Bitdefender Scamio is a web-based scam-detecting chatbot that inputs text, images, and URL links to check for potential scams and malicious content.
  • Scamio can be accessed from any device with an internet connection and a Bitdefender account for free.

Online scams are on the rise again, especially during the holiday season. You might be winning lotteries, asked to make a reply or a callback, or simply asked to click a malicious link otherwise your bank account might be blocked. We are all smart enough to identify such scams and beware of them, or are we?

For those less fortunate than the security experts, Bitdefender has engineered a smart web-based tool that can assist you in identifying which emails and elements are a scam, and which are legitimate. The tool is named Scamio, which might seem like a tool for initiating scams but is in fact, the opposite.

Modern hackers are becoming more and more efficient in scamming people, as their techniques advance. Even I find phishing emails that were previously automatically filtered to the “junk” folder but now end up in my “Inbox,” since even the email provider is unable to identify them as a scam.

Thankfully, you can now use Scamio, free of charge, on any device with an internet connection to verify whether an email, image, or QR code is a scam or legitimate.

What is Bitdefender Scamio

Scamio is an online scam-detecting AI chatbot developed by the creators of Bitdefender – a renowned, state-of-the-art antivirus software suite. Therefore, you can place your trust in Scamio as well. Although it is a newer invention and still needs quite a bit of tweaking here and there, you can trust your information with them with your eyes closed (unless their database is hacked).

Scamio takes input in the form of either text, image, or a URL and tells you when the contents of the element are a scam, safe for you to access, or contain potentially harmful content.

Since it is an online service, it can be accessed from any device having a browser and an internet connection. Moreover, it does not require any downloading, installing, or any kind of execution on your device. Therefore, the system resources are not consumed.

That said, Scamio is now also available on Facebook Messenger and is soon to be integrated with WhatsApp and Telegram, so users will not always need to open the web browser to access Scamio.

Bitdefender Scamio on Facebook Messenger
Bitdefender Scamio on Facebook Messenger

How Scamio works

Since Scamio is an AI chatbot, it takes input from the user, analyzes it, and responds with textual information about what it thinks of the element that you provided. You can provide input to Scamio using any of the following 3 methods:

  • Text – You can either copy-paste the potentially malicious content into Scamio or explain the scam as if you were having a conversation with another human using text.
  • Image – You can also upload an image, may it be a QR code or an image with text, and Scamio will reflect upon its contents, and even check what the QR code is for before providing feedback.
  • URL/link – You can paste or type in a URL or a link and Scamio will scan the contents of the link before determining whether the page/link contains any malicious or dodgy content.

When Scamio is done analyzing the content, it will provide feedback about its findings and let the user know. Since it is an AI chatbot, its responses are different for each scenario, tailored according to the type of user input and its findings about the content’s legitimacy.

However, one caveat is that Scamio is still way early in the learning curve, and therefore, has doubts about its abilities. Which is why it usually gives out disclaimers on its results. For example, when it detects a malicious URL, it informs so. However, it also gives out the following statement:

Please verify the legitimacy of unsolicited communications by conteacting the entity directly through a known, separate communication method before clicking any links or sharing information.

Scamio detects malicious URL link blurred
Scamio detects malicious URL link

This statement does not always apply since the scams are so obvious. Similarly, it also gives out disclaimers when it detects that something is legitimate and not harmful. For example, if it detects that a QR code is valid, it still gives out the following statement:

It’s always important to be cautious when scanning codes from unknown websites, emails, or social media platform.

Scamio verifies QR code legitimacy
Scamio verifies QR code legitimacy

Although the chatbot isn’t wrong about this one, I felt that it was an unnecessary addition to the response, since the end-user only used Scamio in the first place because they were being extra cautious.

Can Scamio be trusted?

Scamio already belongs to the Bitdefender family – a name of trust and security. However, that does not mean that Scamio will have the same level of security since it is a cloud-based service.

As for privacy, if you intentionally or accidentally upload your personal information, like when pasting complete emails along with your email address and phone number, Scamio will analyze the email to check for scams, but will also put out a disclaimer informing you that they are not interested in your personal information:

Please keep in mind that I do not have the ability to assess, access or retrieve personal data you have submitted. My design prioritizes user privacy and security, and when analyzing the submitted personal data such as email addresses, names or phone numbers, I can asses only those threats that are included in Bitdefender’s database of known security threats.

That being said, we are guaranteed that our personal information is secure with Bitdefender. However, your information is still prone to other online threats.

I learned that Scamio stores and logs the queries made when I logged in on another device using the same Bitdefender account. The conversation was automatically restored on the other device. If you have entered any information with your personal details, in the event of a cyber attack, your data inside the chat would be at risk.

Additionally, at the moment, there is no button, or method, to clear the conversation between you and the AI chatbot. Therefore, I strongly suggest not uploading your personal information, even when copy-pasting the content.

That being said, the responses of Scamio can be trusted. Its functionality is spot-on, and it correctly analyzes and detects scams. After having performed nearly 20 checks, Scamio’s ability to differentiate between scams and legitimate content was impeccable, and 100% accurate.

How much does Scamio cost?

At the time of writing this post, Scamio is completely free to use with an unlimited number of queries and inputs. However, it does require you to create a Bitdefender account and log in, unless you already have one.

I anticipate that Scamio might just become a paid service when Bitdefender is done refining and testing it. Likely, it will be a subscription-based payment model.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Cross-platform; can be accessed from anywhere
  • Free to use
  • Can detect scams which the majority of antiviruses cannot
  • No download or installation required
  • Can be used by anyone without additional training
  • Highly accurate scam detection

Cons

  • Requires account creation; hence, your email address
  • Conversations cannot be cleared
  • Checks for scams only when manual input is provided; no automation
  • You are prone to scams when offline
  • Takes several seconds to respond and analyze the content

I believe that it is safe to say that Scamio is one of those inventions that we didn’t know we needed. The human element needed for detecting online phishing scams is not provided by Scamio, which is by far a great achievement in the world of cybersecurity. Not only that, but the tool is free for everyone and can be quickly accessed through any web browser, on any device with an internet connection.

Moreover, Bitdefender’s approach to integrating it with other messaging apps like Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram is also an excellent innovation. Now, users will have the ability to check for potential scams at their fingertips.

One caveat of using Scamio is its processing time. I noticed that after providing relatively lengthy emails, it lagged for at least 18 seconds before it could respond with a “processing” reply. It was nearly 30 seconds after that that it could tell me whether the provided email was a scam or not.

Although not ideal, Scamio is expected to improve as its code is optimized over time. Even with the current latency, having Scamio by your side is a suggestion I’d give to my colleagues and family to prevent them from falling victim to the ever-increasing phishing scams.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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