The AI dating scam fooling Aussies #nigeria | #nigeriascams | #lovescams

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used more and more increasingly to perform tasks more accurately and efficiently.

But while generative AI can automate tasks, reduce human error and even assist medical practitioners, it does have a dark side too.

Cybercriminals are using AI to create fake people online by programming bots to have realistic text conversations as well as generating pictures and audio to trick Australians on dating apps.

We created the below images to illustrate this story using the Adobe Firefly application. Adobe’s AI is trained using Adobe Stock images, openly licensed content, and public domain content where copyright has expired. You can read more about their Content Initiative here.
Love GPT AI people for dating apps
This is an Adobe Firefly AI generated image using the prompt selfie of a young Australian woman. (Adobe Firefly)
Love GPT AI people for dating apps
This is what AI generated when we used the prompt young Australian man selfie. (Adobe Firefly)

The AI bots ‘speak’ to people who believe they are chatting with a real person and develop a connection over a long period before telling an emotional story to convince the dating app user to transfer money.

The type of scam has been dubbed “LoveGPT”, a reference to the popular generative AI tool ChatGPT.

To test how easily an AI image can be generated, we used Adobe Firefly to generate images of people by using various prompts. We chose Adobe Firefly because it is a media product used by Nine. We are not suggesting it is a product prominently used by scammers.

The basic AI generator created these images in less than a minute.

Love GPT AI people for dating apps
The prompt to generate this AI image was Australian man at busy resturant. (Adobe Firefly)

Avast cybersecurity expert Stephen Kho said ChatGPT was only made available last year but as the technology developed, it made it easier for scammers to trick people.

“Before (ChatGPT) when you talk to a chatbot it’s like, ‘Ah, this is clearly a bot because they are not intuitive, they don’t hold a conversation, they have limited speech,'” Kho said.

“But since then, it has just evolved out of sight.”

Love GPT AI people for dating apps
It appears Adobe AI hasn’t quite worked out what netball is. This it the image that was created when we used the prompt young Australian woman playing netball. (Adobe Firefly)

He said the speed at which the bots respond was now about the same as a person who might be thinking of something to say and then replying.

“It would be very easy to get tricked. It’s not even targeting older generations,” he said.

“We are all vulnerable because if you are wanting a connection you can be 35, 40 or 60 (years old), it doesn’t really matter.”

Kho said you could train the AI bots to have a certain personality or be likeable in certain ways.

“The scammers will join dating websites and apps, across all dating apps, and they will create fake profiles,” he said.

“So as soon as the scammer has detected you need something… if it’s in a dating site they will take you off that dating site and start talking to you and build that relationship.”

Love GPT AI people for dating apps
The prompt for this image was young Australian man in backyard. (Adobe Firefly)

He said there used to be one person in a call centre running about 20 scams per day but now with so many automated chatbots, they could attempt to scam hundreds of thousands of people at once.

Governments across the globe are trying to create legislation to catch up with the fast-growing technology.

“Australia already has several pieces of legislation regulating AI usage in specific settings or circumstances,” the Australian Human Rights Commission said.

“However, the regulatory environment for AI is patchwork, and regulatory gaps likely exist.”

How to know if you’re talking to an AI bot

Kho said the scam was in its early days and there were things you could watch out for.

“They will take you off the dating app pretty much as soon as possible,” Kho said.

“They will say let’s talk on WhatsApp or Signal, they’ll take you off the site because a lot of these (dating) sites also employ AI detection to look for a fake account, the spam, the bot accounts so the quicker they take you off, the better.”

Love GPT AI people for dating apps
The prompt for this image was also selfie of a young Australian woman. (Adobe Firefly)

Another way to tell if you are talking to an AI bot is if they refuse to go on a video call because AI-generated videos are not as good as photos, text or audio.

“Then the normal things about scams come in so they try to make it urgent, someone’s sick, they want money, they need something from you too quickly because it’s urgent, someone is in trouble.

“It’s always a recent and emotional situation that arises.”

Scamwatch has issued a warning over pop-up ads like this one for water bottles.

Popular water bottles used to lure users in new social media scam

Australians lost a record $3.1 billion to scams in 2022, according to the Australian Competition Competition Commission (ACCC).

One of the best ways to prevent scams is through education, according to Kho.

He is encouraging people to not be embarrassed and tell people when they have been scammed so more people are aware of how it can happen.

If you’ve been scammed you can report it to Scamwatch, which has more information about Australia’s current online traps.

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