Con Artists Now Using AI-Generated Women in Online Dating Scams

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to find its way into more and more applications all the time, from traffic apps to facial recognition to tracking financial transactions. In fact, there is an AI-generated hologram that is one of Japan's leading concert acts; yes, really. Here, see for yourself.


Now, though, AI-generated people and voices are being used in online dating scams and other con games, which one would suppose is inevitable.

Artificial intelligence could be targeting you on texts, social media and dating apps.

Some victims lost thousands of dollars to people they thought were real women but turned out to be fakes. The people behind the scheme were stealing their cash and hearts.

"Hey, hey honey, you're the best," says a woman who may look real to some, but two security experts say the video is heavily filtered, with unnatural eyes and the chin blending into a neck.

Jim, who asked us to not use his last name, had recently been talking to a woman who convinced him to make an investment.

"And then one day she's like, 'Honey, I love you', and I'm like 'What?' and she goes, 'I have fallen in love with you'. And I said, 'Well, I'm old enough to be your dad.' And she said, 'Well, that doesn't matter. We have a lot in common,'" he said.

Notice the lack of Jim's actual name being used by the AI "woman." And before long, the main thing they had in common was Jim's money, which the scammer quickly became the sole possessor of.

Jim initially met her after getting a mysterious text message. He thought they had a friend in common. He said he wasn't looking to date.

"She goes, 'I've never met anybody to be my equal. You and I have a super lot in common.' And she's had an uncle who was on the board for the stock exchange in Hong Kong," said Jim.

He was convinced to send $60,000 to invest in the stock exchange. He said he lost most of it because the investment tanked. Then, the woman opened up an overseas crypto account in his name, but when Jim tried to take that money out, he was going to be charged thousands in upfront tax fees. Experts say it's a scam.


One has to wonder if those "experts" are experts at belaboring the obvious because that's sure what they've done here.

It's tempting, here, to point out that artificial intelligence is a great tool for taking advantage of natural stupidity, but we should be charitable and admit we don't know "Jim's" level of sophistication when it comes to online dating, AI or common scams, but honestly, if the request to "invest" $60,000 didn't ring any alarm bells, it's hard to see what might.

Fortunately, our bravest public servants are on the case.

There are always warning signs; if one examines some AI-generated images, there are always artifacts, hair that doesn't look quite right, fingers that are at awkward angles, and eyes that look... wrong. There is still the uncanny valley effect of AI-generated faces, and for most people, that should be enough to hit a "suspicious" alarm. But honestly, who sends money to anonymous online people they know only through a dating site? It's tempting to say that at some point, fools and their money deserve to be parted; that's a hard school, I grant you, but a fool will learn in no other.

It's a problem that's getting worse.

Unfortunately these types of romance scams, with or without AI, have gotten worse. Recent numbers from the Federal Trade Commission shows $1.3 billion was lost in 2022.


$1.3 billion!  

I should note that scammers aren't the only ones using AI to lighten our wallets; the IRS is adding it to their arsenal of ways to soak the middle class as well. Hang on to your wallets! If the scammers don't come after you, the IRS just might.

AI is not, however, all bad. Sometimes, it is effectively used in entertainment, as Japan has shown us. And when it comes to Artificial Intelligence, we should remember who did it first and whose equal we have, somehow, not yet seen.


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