Heightened Alert: The Growing Trend of Online Dating Scams and Why Vigilance is Essential

The once-distant concept of a world dominated by robots, fueled by Artificial Intelligence (AI), has swiftly become part of our everyday reality. Though its infiltration may not always be overt, AI has managed to permeate various aspects of our lives, including music, education, careers, and notably, dating.

Coupled with the ubiquitous presence of online dating platforms, we may soon find ourselves fostering romantic connections with minimal effort.

A recent study conducted by cybersecurity brand Norton discovered that over half of Australians—58 percent—who engage in online dating are intrigued by the idea of utilizing AI as a dating coach.

This revelation follows global news of a Moscow-based individual who developed an artificial dating assistant program leveraging the AI platform ChatGPT. This program conversed with over 5000 women on his behalf, facilitating over 100 dates before he ultimately found his wife, as reported by Gizmodo.

Given this success story, it’s unsurprising to witness a surge in Australians seeking similar assistance in their romantic pursuits—especially considering that Norton’s data reveals the average Aussie spends a considerable nine hours per week and $170 throughout their lifetime on dating apps and services.

Why the interest in AI for online dating?

Mark Gorrie, Norton’s managing director APAC, pointed out that as AI becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives, it’s natural for Australians to leverage it in their quest for love.

He elaborated that insights from the study suggest a probable rise in the use of AI in online dating, as individuals seek convenient tools to enrich their dating experiences. Specifically, Australians express interest in employing AI for tasks like crafting pick-up lines, refining dating app profiles, and enhancing photos to boost their chances of finding a match.

The study also unveiled that nearly half of Aussies (46 percent) would consider using AI to engage in virtual dates on their behalf, underscoring its potential in shaping the modern dating landscape.

AI’s role in exacerbating dating scams

However, with the anticipated surge in AI presence in online dating comes a heightened risk of romance scams. While scams such as catfishing are not new, distinguishing between genuine individuals and AI-operated profiles could become increasingly challenging.

In the first quarter of this year alone, Australians lost a staggering $5.8 million to dating and romance scams, as per the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch. Social networking emerged as the primary method through which scammers deceived individuals into parting with their money.

Gorrie emphasized that while romance scams aren’t novel, AI has made them more prevalent and harder to detect. He urged people to remain vigilant for signs of romance scams, such as avoiding video or phone calls, sparse imagery on dating profiles, or rapid relationship progression.

Norton’s data further revealed that nearly a third of Aussies (27 percent) who have engaged with dating apps experienced targeting by dating scams, with nearly 40 percent of this group falling victim. Additionally, 25 percent admitted to being catfished.

Identifying AI interactions

Gorrie advised women and all online daters to be vigilant for signs of AI interactions, such as unnatural responses, repetitive patterns, inconsistencies in conversations, unusual timing, or a lack of engagement in complex topics.

Moreover, Norton recommended requesting video chats to verify the identity of potential suitors, checking social media profiles, conducting reverse image searches, and refraining from clicking on links shared by online acquaintances.

While AI could undoubtedly enhance the online dating experience, prioritizing safety is paramount. If something seems amiss, exercising caution is crucial.

Back to top button