Norton: Report Highlights Rising Trend of AI Dating Scams

While AI assists with self-promotion in online dating, it simultaneously allows scammers to construct highly believable false identities at scale
Norton report shows that as AI becomes more sophisticated and accessible, so do the risks of romantic scams conducted via AI

Artificial intelligence has moved from niche applications to mainstream adoption at a record pace. Thanks to large language models like Gemini, Claude and ChatGPT, these tools can engage in free-flowing conversations, generate human-like writing across genres, code software and even create imagery from text descriptions. 

With the average online dater investing six hours per week and $300 over their lifetime swiping and scrolling, consumers today are utilising AI tools to improve their online dating experiences. Amid the AI boom, research by Norton – the consumer cyber safety brand of Gen – has found that two-thirds (64%) of current online daters are interested in leveraging AI as a dating coach.

However, Norton’s report also reveals a dark side to the AI dating phenomenon. As AI becomes more sophisticated and accessible, so do the risks of romantic scams conducted via AI. Norton's data shows online dating scams skyrocketed 72% in the past year, with 27% of dating app users reporting they were targeted. Nearly a third have been ‘catfished’ by fake personas.

Norton's data showed that nearly a third of Americans (27%) who have used a dating app say they have been targeted by a dating scam

"Online dating is notoriously difficult to navigate and using AI as a dating coach seems innocuous when you're on the receiving end of a bad pickup line or trying to draft a thoughtful breakup text. However, AI technology can also make online dating riskier and more complicated when it's utilised in more nefarious ways," comments Leyla Bilge, Director of Scam Research Labs for Norton. "Romance scams aren't new, but AI is changing the game and making these types of scams more common and much harder to spot. People need to stay vigilant for signs of romance scams such as individuals who avoid video or phone calls, have very few images on their dating profiles or attempt to progress the relationship quickly."

AI tools can help combat dating scams

While AI assists with self-promotion in online dating, it simultaneously allows scammers to construct highly believable false identities at scale. As AI capabilities grow in tandem with dating app adoption, ensuring safe online dating practices will require enhanced user awareness.

Norton’s report recommends a combination of AI tools and scepticism when interactions start feeling rushed, inconsistent, or too good to be true. It offers products like Norton Genie, a free AI-powered scam detection app, which can review suspicious texts, emails or web links.

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As Andrew Gardner, VP of Research & Head of AI at Gen, told Cyber Magazine last year, tools like Genie are proving valuable as AI continues to shape the cybersecurity landscape.

“Looking ahead, it's clear that AI is going to shake up the cybersecurity scene in a big way. The ever-evolving world of scams, increasingly driven by generative AI, means we need a fresh game plan to keep our digital lives secure,” he said.

“Genie is a great example of this potential, but its impact reaches even further. We see Genie evolving into an even more indispensable tool, growing smarter and more adept with each user interaction. This isn't just about immediate scam detection and response – it's about reshaping our entire outlook on online safety. The more people use Genie, the more advanced and useful it’s becoming.”

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