Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

‘People need to be vigilant’ | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans


Thanks to the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the once distant and mythical fear of a world pervaded by robots has quickly become an everyday reality. While it might be less perceptible to the naked eye than previously imagined, AI has still found a way to seep into the different corners of our lives – from music to education, careers, and even dating.

Paired with the now perennial presence of online dating platforms, we might soon be cultivating romantic relationships without lifting a finger.

A recent study by cyber safety brand Norton found that more than half of Australians – or 58 per cent – who are currently online dating are interested in using AI as a dating coach.

It comes after global news broke of a Moscow-based man who developed an artificial dating assistant program using the AI platform ChatGPT.

The program chatted with over 5000 women on his behalf and helped him schedule over 100 dates before he was eventually matched with his now wife, Gizmodo reported.

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Given this success, it’s unsurprising to see a spike in Australians seeking similar help in their romantic endeavours – particularly with Norton’s data revealing the average Aussie spends a whopping nine hours a week and $170 throughout their lifetime on dating apps and services.

“It seems that the use of AI may be growing to assist in this search,” Norton managing director APAC Mark Gorrie told Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.

“As AI becomes more established in our everyday lives, it’s no wonder Aussies might use it to help them on the quest to find love.”

Gorrie explained that the insights from the study indicated a likely increase in the use of AI in online dating as people seek convenient tools to enhance their dating experiences.

Two hands hold up an AI symbol.

AI could soon take over the online dating world. Photo: Getty

“Specifically, Australians are interested in utilising AI for tasks such as writing pick-up lines, developing dating app profiles, and enhancing photos to increase their chances of finding a match,” he said.

The study also found that almost half, or 46 per cent, of Aussies would even use AI to go on virtual dates for them as a proxy, further cementing the place it could soon have in the modern dating world.

But with a looming increase in the presence of AI in online dating comes an escalation in the threat of romance scams. While dating scams such as catfishing aren’t new, it could soon be even harder to decipher whether you’ve swiped right on an actual person or a robot.

In the first three months of this year alone, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch found that Australians had lost more than a staggering $5.8 million to dating and romance scams, with social networking the most prolific method by which they were scammed out of money.

“Romance scams aren’t new, but AI is changing the game and making these types of scams more common and much harder to spot,” said Gorrie.

A woman's hand texting and a woman puts her head in her hand while holding a phone.A woman's hand texting and a woman puts her head in her hand while holding a phone.

AI could increase the threat of dating scams. Photo: Getty

“People need to stay vigilant for signs of romance scams such as individuals who avoid video or phone calls, have very few images on their dating profiles or attempt to progress the relationship quickly.”

Norton’s data further showed that nearly a third of Aussies, or 27 per cent, who have engaged with dating apps said they had been targeted by a dating scam, with almost two in five of this demographic falling victim. 25 per cent of Aussies also admitted to being catfished by someone.

Gorrie added, “AI technology can make online dating riskier and more complicated when it’s used in more nefarious ways.”

“Women, along with any online dater, can identify potential AI interactions by looking for unnatural responses, repetitive patterns, and inconsistencies in conversations while also being mindful of unusual timing and a lack of engagement in complex topics,” Gorrie explained.

Other tips for avoiding online dating scams included requesting a video chat to help verify the identity of the person you’re talking to and looking out for signs of a deepfake, such as unnatural facial expressions or hair.

Mark Gorrie. Mark Gorrie.

Cyber safety brand Norton’s managing director APAC Mark Gorrie. Photo: Supplied

Norton also advised daters to check their potential suitor’s social media profiles and complete a reverse image search to help determine if their photo was enhanced by AI or stolen from a real person.

In saying that, it’s also important to be wary of your own social presence and avoid posting personal details online where possible.

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Lastly, never click on a link from someone you’re chatting with online, particularly if you haven’t been speaking for long.

AI scams can target people based on their interests, plus links can often lead to porn or webcam sites, or even dangerous sites that download malware to your computer.

While the use of AI could certainly enhance the online dating experience, it’s important to stay safe. If something feels off, it probably is.

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