AI Could Magnify Fraud Risks in Online Dating

Researchers say artificial intelligence (AI) may exacerbate the fraud risks associated with online dating. Although it is only a few years in the making, generative AI has already shown its potential as an extremely disruptive tool. With entire industries following the continued advancement of AI tools warily, experts say the technology could also magnify fraud risks in online dating.

With only a few major players dominating the online dating scene, the industry has long been accused of failing to respond expediently to problems on dating apps. These apps already present a mostly unrestricted ground for scammers and other unscrupulous players to take advantage of folks looking for love. With advanced AI tools such as ChatGPT at their disposal, online dating may be looking at a surge of nigh-indistinguishable fraud.

These AI-powered applications can help people write messages and allow one man to talk to more than 5,000 women on the virtual dating platform Tinder. Aleksandr Zhadan in Moscow programmed ChatGPT to talk to thousands of women on his behalf and eventually landed his wife using this unorthodox technique. Interestingly, it was ultimately the AI tool’s idea for the Moscow resident to propose to one of the women it was talking to.

Zhadan’s story presents a growing challenge in online dating: it is becoming increasingly harder to distinguish between messages written by chatbots and human beings. With AI-powered image-generation tools becoming more advanced by the day, online dating profiles may also be using AI-generated images. The result could be an onslaught of fake profiles generated by AI and used by bad players for fraudulent purposes.

While Zhadan used AI to look for love, other players may leverage tools such as ChatGPT to scam unsuspecting individuals. The growing popularity of such tools has also coincided with an increase in AI-powered fraud on dating sites. Data from cybersecurity company Arkose Labs shows that there was a whopping 2,000% increase in bot attacks on online dating platforms from January 2023 to January 2024.

The problem will only get worse with time, experts say. Tools such as ChatGPT are still in their infancy and have significant room for growth, meaning they will sound more human as the technology ages, giving criminals more advanced tools to scam people out of their money. Fraud was already a concern on many dating platforms, with romance scams costing Americans $1.14 billion in 2023, but AI could make the problem explode to catastrophic levels if proper steps aren’t taken to address the issue.

Companies such as Momo Inc. (NASDAQ: MOMO) in the online dating space are undoubtedly giving the potential risks of artificial intelligence in that space serious thought in order to protect the public from fraudsters looking to take advantage of people on the dating platforms.

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