An AI expert has warned of AI romance scams that can embarrass and steal victims’ pockets.
Richard De Vere, head of social engineering at technology solutions company Ultima, spoke exclusively to The US Sun about the worrying bot scam.
Romance scams have been around for a while and usually involve a human scammer fishing for you pretending to be in love.
Once a victim is hooked, the scammer soon starts asking for money.
Artificial intelligence is said to exacerbate the problem by making criminals even more persuasive.
De Vere explained, “In the US alone, the ‘traditional’ romance scam industry is worth over $1 billion annually and approximately 24,000 people fall victim to romance scams each year.
“Fraudsters using AI have the potential to automate much of their day-to-day work, thereby increasing the time they can focus on exploiting vulnerabilities in their targets.
“AIs love to talk about the weather, learn about your family, and tell you how your day went.
“The new generation of AIs are almost indistinguishable from humans, at least when communicating via email and messaging applications.”
De Vere believes that some AI chatbots can write better and more persuasive messages than humans, citing ChatGPT as an example.
ChatGPT is a chatbot that has been causing concern lately for its ability to write impressive and intelligent blocks of text.
De Vere said, “ChatGPT is the first of its kind. It’s a tool that allows anyone with moderate computer skills to build a sort of online virtual assistant that has many human characteristics.
“Currently, scammers can use ChatGPT to start conversations with new targets. It opens up another avenue for less experienced criminals to increase their volume of activity.
“When the target has sufficiently warmed up and developed feelings for the AI, a real person can take control and change the subject to send money.”
De Vere warned that AI could learn to see love cheating as a game.
He said making mistakes will only make it better in the long run as it learns how to win victims’ hearts and their money.
Always be wary of strangers you meet on the internet.
This includes new friends on social media as well as anyone you meet on a dating site.
As a general rule, dating site users are advised never to send money to someone they have just met.
De Vere added: “It’s natural to feel guilty or embarrassed when you’re the victim of a scam online, especially when it involves AI – but you shouldn’t take it personally.
“Scammers play a numbers game and that can happen to the best of us – it just happens that this time your number comes up.
“Unfortunately, falling for one love scam means you’re more likely to fall for another.
“The next time you start a relationship online, seek advice from friends and family.
“Show them who you’re talking to and get their input. Someone with a clear head may be able to spot some obvious red flags that you may be overlooking.”