WAAY 31 Special Report: Digging into online dating scams | News | #datingscams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | | #dating

Scammers are now using artificial intelligence to prey on lonely hearts to get their hard-earned cash.

WAAY 31 is digging into online dating scams.

Scammers are now using artificial intelligence to prey on lonely hearts to get their hard-earned cash.

But, as WAAY 31 Morning Anchor Demetria Green found, some of these dating apps may be in on the con too.

When people log onto these dating apps, they are praying to meet their perfect match.

But little do they know, they are the ones being preyed upon.

Demetria tracked down a tech expert and a woman who’s the face of several catfish schemes to get three things everyone needs to know to outsmart these scammers.

“Stop using my photos!”

This is a stern warning from model and actress, Amy Simon.

“These websites are using my image illegally,” said Simon. “People have reported it, I reported it and nothing happens.”

Simon uses social media as a portfolio of sorts to attract casting agents to land her next gig.

“I travel all across the country,” said Simon. “They’re like, ‘Hey, your picture just popped up in New York, California, or Michigan.’ Sometimes, they put me as 60 years old. That’s just wrong!”

But her photos are landing in the wrong hands – of scammers who are well versed in artificial intelligence and chatbots – making for a dangerous combination.

Simon was recently alerted to a scammer who used her photo on a dating website here in North Alabama.

The scammer tried to solicit young women from Huntsville to meet them in Nashville.

“It upsets me if someone is using my image and getting money from somebody,” said Simon.

One “would-be victim” told Demetria she got a sneaky suspicion something was off.

“You have to ask the questions and Google people,” said Simon.

“If you don’t know you’re talking to an AI, then you might get scammed,” said Dr. Jeremy Davis.

Davis is one of the lead cyber security researchers at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

He says some dating sites are behind this scam.

The sites are in a constant battle with people who leave the site after getting matched and those who are burned out after months of getting matched with “notties” instead of “hotties.”

Davis says it’s a numbers game. The longer people spend on the app, the more revenue that comes in.

So, some free dating apps are now creating fake profiles of people who look like supermodels or the “average Joe” to lure you in.

The key is they are always ready and available to chat.

“The more bots they put out there, the more they think this supermodel really likes you,” said Davis. “If you have five or six people that do that every day to you, you think, ‘I love this site.’”

Once you’re hooked on the free site, that’s when the upcharges come.

And since you’re getting tons of messages from these supermodels, Davis says you are more inclined to pony up the extra cash.

So, what are some things you can look for and spot to see if this is AI or a bot and not a real person?

One is the picture or image.

Davis highly recommends a Google reverse image search. It’s where you take an image, drop it into a special search bar and Google will scour through millions of websites to find that picture and any related pictures.

That’s how Simon found out about her photos online. She was told there were more than 60 fake dating profiles using her picture.

The second way to spot a bot is through conversation.

“If you think you are chatting with a bot, you could change the conversation pretty quickly or make a joke,” said Davis. “If somebody asks you where you are from, you can say a fictional place. If the bot responds, ‘Oh that’s wonderful. I’ve always wanted to go there.’”

He says AI has a hard time distinguishing between reality and fiction.

And lastly, he says…

“Just trust your instinct. If you think you’re talking to a bot, there’s a good chance you are.”

As for Simon, she’s alerted to a new fake profile page using her image every week.

She is now urging dating sites to crack down on these fake profiles.

“We need to let these dating sites know, if somebody is reporting this as a fake account, please verify it and block it,” said Simon. “Why do we have to do it? They are making millions of dollars. They should have a security system in place.”

Here’s another tip: Request a facetime or phone call right away. That way, you can see if the person is real.

As researchers struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing technology, they say if you see something that’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.

If something similar happened to you, let Demetria know by commenting on her story HERE.


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