The prevalence of romance scams is alarming, with 39 per cent Indians revealing that their interactions with potential love interests online turned out to be with scammersAI 

Latest Report Reveals Surge in AI Romance Scams as 77% of Indians Fall Victim to Fake Love

According to McAfee’s latest ‘Modern Love’ survey, a whopping 77 percent of Indians have reported coming across fake profiles or AI-generated photos on dating platforms or social media.

The study, which surveyed 7,000 people in seven countries, including India, sheds light on the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in online romance, as well as the implications of the rise of catfishing and romance scams. The survey was conducted online in January 2024 by market research company MSI-ACI via email, inviting people aged 18 and over to complete the online survey.

Additionally, the prevalence of romance scams is alarming, with 39 percent of Indians revealing that their interactions with potential love interests online turned out to be scammers. Even more troubling is the revelation that 26 percent of respondents had unwittingly engaged in conversations with AI-generated robots rather than real people.

The allure of AI in online dating is undeniable, with 65 percent of Indians admitting to using AI tools like ChatGPT to enhance their profiles or craft their messages. With Valentine’s Day approaching, 56 percent of Indians are considering using AI to write love messages, citing increased trust.

However, relying on AI-generated content has sparked mixed feelings among recipients, with 60 percent expressing possible hurt or offense when they discovered their Valentine’s Day messages were written by machines.

Despite the risks, the effectiveness of AI in generating interest and responses cannot be ignored, as evidenced by 81 percent of respondents reporting that AI-generated content performs better than their original posts.

Steve Grobman, CTO of McAfee, emphasized the dual nature of AI in online dating, stating: “The possibilities of AI are endless, and unfortunately, so are the dangers… We know that cybercriminals are also using AI to measure malicious activity. As love-seekers spend more time online before Valentine’s Day, scammers are using AI to pose as love interests to steal your money or personal information.

Valentine’s Day is a prime occasion for cybercriminals, so McAfee urges people to be careful online and offers practical ways to protect themselves. These include checking messages for AI-generated patterns, doing reverse image searches on profile pictures, not sending money or gifts to people you don’t know, and asking trusted friends or family for advice.

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