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Info@NationalCyberSecurity

New Zealand online daters turn to AI for love amid increased scams | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans


New Zealand’s online daters are increasingly integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into their search for love, according to a recent report by Norton. The 2024 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report reveals that over half (51%) of the country’s online dating community are keen to utilise AI as a dating coach, reflecting a broader trend of AI application in everyday life. The report provides insights into online behaviours and attitudes towards information sharing with potential romantic partners.

The study showed that current online daters in New Zealand spend an average of four hours per week, and over $160 throughout their lifetime, on dating apps and services. As a result of this significant investment of time and money, 55% of online dating app or service users are interested in AI assistance for crafting conversation starters or pick-up lines. Meanwhile, 52% would consider using AI for profile development, and 42% would use it for photo enhancement.

However, alongside the perceived benefits of AI in online dating, there are risks associated with its use. The report suggests a substantial 28% of Kiwis who have used a dating app have been targeted by a dating scam, with over a third (36%) of this group falling prey to these scams. Furthermore, an estimated 24% of app users claim they have been ‘catfished’ – deceived by a false online identity.

Mark Gorrie, Managing Director APAC for Norton, warned of the potential pitfalls of AI, saying, “While Kiwis think that online dating is relatively safe, it becomes riskier and more complicated when used for less respectable reasons, like creating more convincing romance scams.” Gorrie advised people to remain alert for tell-tale signs of a romance scam such as reluctance to video call, a scarce or low-quality image gallery, and hurried attempts to progress the relationship.

Additional findings in the report include a clear gender split in attitudes towards online dating, with nearly a third (29%) of Kiwi men showing a preference for online encounters, compared to only 14% of women. Amongst current dating app users, Whatsapp (53%) and Instagram (51%) were ranked as the safest platforms, while Hud was considered the least safe, earning approval from just 8% of users.

In light of the rise of AI in online dating and the concurrent increase in associated scams, Norton underlines the importance of continued education around Cyber Safety. As part of this initiative, Norton has developed Norton Genie, an AI-powered scam detection app that can review suspicious texts, emails, or web links, such as fake dating site links or dubious website links from potential partners, to determine if they are malicious.

The study was conducted online within New Zealand by Dynata on behalf of Gen from March 6th to March 23rd, 2024 among 1,007 adults ages 18 and older, including 109 current online daters and 361 adults who have used a dating app. Data are weighted where necessary by age, gender, and region, to be nationally representative.

Norton is an expert in Cyber Safety, and part of Gen (NASDAQ: GEN), a global company dedicated to powering Digital Freedom with a family of trusted consumer brands. Norton aims to provide individuals and families with protection for their devices, online privacy, and identity. Norton products and services are certified by independent testing organisations including AV-TEST, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs. Norton is a founding member of the Coalition Against Stalkerware.



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