A new study from cybersecurity firm McAfee finds artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasing role in online dating, but also fueling a rise in romance scams, fake profiles, and inauthentic descriptions.
The report surveyed 7,000 adults across seven countries about their use of AI tools for finding love online. It found 23% of Americans are now using AI to enhance their dating profiles and messaging, up from 15% last year.
And there is more bad news for true romantics. The tools boost match rates, with a whopping 69% saying AI-generated content earned them more interest than their original content. As for Valentine’s Day cards, 45% of men (and 39% of all adults) are contemplating using AI to write their heartfelt messages to partners.
But the technology is not just being used to help hapless singletons find a match.
The prevalence of fake profiles and scams is also increasing. Nearly three out of five (58%) of respondents reported coming across fake, AI-generated profiles over the past year, especially on social media. And almost a third (31%) said a promising online love interest had turned out to be a scammer trying to steal money or personal information.
AI blurring lines on dating apps
The rise of AI, particularly generative AI, is making it harder to distinguish real people from fake on dating apps. A significant 57% of respondents said they wouldn’t be able to reliably identify an AI-generated dating message and 46% admitted uncertainty about spotting AI-created profile photos.
Scammers are exploiting new AI capabilities to conduct more convincing, longer-term cons. Over half of respondents had been asked to transfer money soon after meeting someone online and 10% were asked to share a social security number or something similar by fraudsters.
McAfee Chief Technology Officer Steve Grobman said AI offers helpful tools for dating, but also powers an “escalating threat” of romance scams.
Grobman said: “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,”
He continued: “We encourage people to balance romantic hope with healthy skepticism, to pause before sharing sensitive information online, and to ensure they use the right tools to protect their privacy, identity, and personal information.”
The report underscores the double-edged sword of AI in online dating. More Americans plan to leverage AI writing tools this Valentine’s Day. But without vigilance, those same technologies threaten to break more hearts.
Featured image: DALL-E