AI: Swipe left! AI-generated bots proliferate online dating space

Scammers are now using artificial intelligence (AI) to scam love-seekers on dating websites, with 26% of Indians reporting that their potential love interest turned out to be an AI-generated bot and not a real person, a new survey showed.

Cybersecurity firm McAfee has found in a survey that 77% of Indians have come across fake profiles and photos generated using AI tools created to commit romance scams and catfishing. 39% of Indians said their conversations with a potential love interest online turned out to be with a scammer.

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“The rise of powerful AI tools has complicated the online dating landscape. By leveraging easy-to-use AI tools, romance scammers can craft convincing messages and realistic profile images to trick people looking for love online,” McAfee said in a press release on Monday.

The study also discovered that more than half, 65% of Indians have used ChatGPT/AI to help create pics or other content for a dating app.

Specifically, this Valentine’s Day, 56% of Indians are planning to or considering using AI to write messages for their love interest as it helps boost their confidence, it said.

However, this contrasts sharply with people’s feelings about receiving AI-generated content. 60% of people said they would be hurt or offended if they found out a machine or AI wrote their Valentine’s message.

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Besides dating apps and websites, McAfee also reported a surge in Valentine-related scams through other mediums such as malware campaigns (25% surge), malicious URLs (300% increase), and a variety of romance-themed spam and email scams (a staggering 400% increase), with the majority focused on Valentine’s shopping and gifts. McAfee Labs expects these numbers will continue rising as February 14 gets closer, urging vigilance, it said.”With love-seekers spending more time online leading up to Valentine’s Day, scammers are using AI to pose as love interests to steal your money or personal information,” said Steve Grobman, McAfee’s Chief Technology Officer.

“We encourage people to balance romantic hope with healthy skepticism, to pause before sharing sensitive information online, and to ensure they use the right tools to protect their privacy, identity, and personal information,” he said.

For the study, 7,000 people were surveyed across seven countries worldwide, including India.