The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) tools has complicated the online dating space. From using them to craft messages to create realistic profile pictures, romance scams have become common. Now, a new study shows that almost 40% of Indians' love interests online are turning out to be scammers.
For its second annual “Modern Love” research study, cybersecurity company McAfee surveyed about 7,000 people across the globe (across 7 countries, including the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, India, and Japan) to understand how AI tools are affecting the dating landscape.
One of the key findings was that 77% of Indians had come across fake profiles and/or photos that looked AI-generated on dating websites or apps, or on social media.
More than 90% of Indians reported that they, or someone they know, have been contacted by a stranger through social media or text messages and have exchanged messages regularly to know them better. Often, people looking for love are more vulnerable to scams when connecting with strangers, and cyber criminals use this vulnerability to steal information from victims.
The study also discovered that 65% of Indians have used AI tools such as ChatGPT to help create pictures or other content for a dating app. This Valentine’s Day, 56% of Indians are planning to or considering using AI to write messages for their love interest. This could be because 81% of people reported receiving more interest and better responses when they used AI-generated content compared to original content.
However, 60% of people said they would be hurt or offended if they found out their Valentine’s Day message was written using an AI tool.
“The possibilities of AI are endless, and unfortunately, so are the perils. For people who are shy about starting conversations, short on time to craft the perfect message, or whose photos could be brightened, AI offers tools to help enjoy all the fun and excitement that comes with online dating.,” Steve Grobman, McAfee’s chief technology officer, said in a press release.
During this time of the year, McAfee also reported a 25% surge in Valentine-related malware campaigns, a 300% increase in malicious URLs, and a 400% increase in the variety of romance-themed spam and email scams, with the majority focused on Valentine’s shopping and gifts.
One of the ways to ensure you don’t fall for such scams is to scrutinize messages you receive on dating apps or direct messages to see if they are generic or lack substance. Also, it’s important to not click on links from people you haven’t met, the release adds.
As per McAfee, an easy way to check for fake profiles is to do a reverse image search of their profile picture. If the picture is associated with a different name, you’ll know that this is a scammer. Also, it’s important not to send money to people you meet online, even if they send it first.
Moreover, it’s good to confide in friends and take their advice about the new love interest. They might be able to see something that you have missed. You can also invest in tools that use AI to protect you from AI-related scams.