Ai Dating Scams Are Getting Smarter

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Fraud Expert Says Online Daters Need Enhanced Safety Features As AI Scams Get Smarter

Chloë Hylkema

Written by: Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema uses her writing skills to create useful and up-to-date content for DatingAdvice.com. Chloë is an Emory University grad who is familiar with what it means to date in the modern age, and she works to write material that is engaging, truthful, and as helpful as possible. Being on the front lines of the dating scene, Chloë is committed to staying engaged with the ever-changing world of dating to provide the most useful content to readers.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

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The Short Version: Deepfakes are posing a growing security risk to social media platforms, dating sites, and their users. Bala Kumar is the Chief Product Officer for Jumio, an identity verification solution trusted by companies across the world for user verification and fraud protection. Bala gave us an inside look at the artificial intelligence scams internet users need to look out for and told us about what social media networks and dating sites should be doing to protect users. He gave some insights into how AI is being used to both perpetuate scams and protect people against them. 

Ctrl Shift Face is a YouTube channel that’s garnered millions of views since its first upload in 2019. On this channel, you can watch scenes of an insomniac Al Pacino driving his cab through the grimy streets of New York City, an ax-wielding and poncho-wearing Tom Cruise turn up “It’s Hip To Be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News, and a wide-eyed Jim Carrey staggering through the Overlook Hotel to announce to a petrified Shelley Duvall: “Here’s Johnny!”

Let me explain.

Ctrl Shift Face uses the power of artificial intelligence to create something called a deepfake. Deepfakes are pieces of synthetic media that have been manipulated to replace one person’s likeness with that of another. Deepfakes give us the entertaining yet uncanny opportunity to imagine what it would have been like if Martin Scorsese had chosen Al Pacino instead of Robert DeNiro while casting “Taxi Driver,” but this is perhaps the technology’s most harmless application.  

Deepfakes pose a safety threat to internet users across platforms. As AI tech continues to develop and become more advanced, deepfake accounts are becoming increasingly believable and common, and the user verification systems used by many platforms aren’t equipped to detect this type of fraudulent profile

deepfake image
Deepfake images are often difficult to identify with the naked eye.

Bala Kumar is an expert in online fraud and the Chief Product Officer at Jumio, an identity verification platform powered by AI. Jumio is the trusted security solution for leading global brands and protects platforms against fraudulent accounts and criminal activity. He talked to us about AI scams, what makes them particularly dangerous, and what social and dating platforms should be doing to protect users. 

“Everything around generative AI has become extremely prevalent,” Bala said. “Everyone has encountered AI, whether it’s ChatGPT or Google Search’s integrated AI. I think AI is awesome, I love using it, and I use it all the time. But the reality is these tools aren’t just available to us. Fraudsters also have access to these tools, and they’re taking advantage of them.”

A Fraudulent New World

Identity verification services are used by many businesses to ensure that users or customers are who they say they are. These services verify the authenticity of an officially issued identification document, whether it’s a driver’s license, passport, or other document, to make sure it’s associated with a real person. 

ID verification is especially important on dating apps, and every worthwhile dating app has some kind of user verification process. Many ID verification systems equip AI to scan facial features and match them to the official identification document. Bala said scammers are using deepfakes to attempt to move through these processes without being identified as fraudulent.

Bala said that Jumio’s verification systems have seen increased numbers of deepfake accounts attempting verification. “Deepfake accounts are on the rise,” he said. “It’s either a completely new face generated by AI, or a face morphed using AI. It’s usually pretty easy to catch the completely generated faces, but the morphed faces pose a little more of a challenge.”

ID verification systems get better to prevent AI scams
ID verification may add another step to creating an online dating profile, but it’s worth the time.

Deepfake scams are on the rise, but Bala said they’re not increasing too rapidly. “When I say we’ve seen an increase, we’re not talking about thousands and thousands. Of these, we’re talking about double digits, maybe 100 or so starting to come through the door. And this is out of millions of transactions and verifications. And we’ve been very successful in blocking a lot of these.”

Every new tech advancement is like a double-edged sword. “We all need to be extremely careful and vigilant about the tools that can help us be productive and effective,” Bala said. “Because they’re the same tools available to fraudsters to be disruptive. We need to try to stay ahead of them and be proactive in digital security measures.”

Bala said it’s critical for verification services to think proactively about user safety, privacy, and authentication. Scammers are often quick to adapt to improved technologies that make fraud easier, and that means identity verification systems have to be faster. “On the surface, many of these fraudulent profiles can look legitimate, and that’s why it’s so important for users to stay vigilant,” he said.

Knowledge Is Power For Singles

Online platforms should protect users from scammers and fraud through verification, but they don’t always. It can take time for verification systems to catch up with scammers’ strategies, leaving blindspots in security during that period, making it even more important for individual users to stay alert. 

Bala said staying safe online in the age of generative scams means choosing platforms wisely. “As an end user, you want to be interacting with organizations or businesses that you can trust with your safety.”

The typical online safety tools, like refraining from sharing personal information or sending money, are still very relevant for online safety. However, as scams increasingly equip AI to bypass security, many of these safety tools can’t adequately protect customers. Bala told us that dating platforms need to adapt their verification and privacy safeguards to keep up with the advancing scam landscape.

singles should choose sites that verify users' identities
Bala encouraged users to vet every site they give their personal info to.

“Think of it like ride-sharing companies,” Bala said. “Users must have confidence in these services if they’re going to choose the company. If they see an increase in the reports of passengers being attacked or robbed, trust in these services and companies is going to go down.” Just like any other service, singles are going to go to the dating platform where they don’t have to question whether they will be safe.

“The impetus is actually on the company to be able to provide security,” Bala said. “It’s important for them to provide a safe place where end users can interact comfortably without having to worry about whether it’s a safe place.” 

As AI-powered scams become more common, an internet user’s safety toolbox requires a few additions. Now, it’s crucial that users investigate digital platforms before entering their personal information and ensure the service is doing everything it can to protect its users.

“It’s on the organization to provide that comfort level and make sure that they’re guarding the safety of their users,” Bala said. “When users are making decisions on which websites or tools to use, they need to make sure that they have the right checks in place for end users. Identity verification may feel like a little friction, but it’s proving to the user that this platform has safeguards.”

Jumio Stops Identity Fraud In Its Tracks

Scams powered by generative AI are changing the digital landscape for developers and users alike. Bala said users should be selecting services with anti-fraud authentication safeguards in place, but what exactly does this look like? Bala said a promising sign of a trustworthy platform is one that requires identity verification during onboarding. However, not all verification systems are equipped to detect AI scams.

“For organizations, it’s really important to integrate their processes with organizations that have ‘been there, done that’ and have a strong history working with all different kinds of identification,” Bala said. “So many sites now are global in nature and need to have authentication services that are familiar with a variety of ID types.”

jumio identity verification solutions
Jumio equips digital platforms with AI verification tools to keep users safe.

Platforms need verification services that know how to identify and eliminate AI-powered scams, and a large component of this is familiarity with a diverse selection of identifications. And while AI is used to perpetrate fraud, Bala said it’s also the tool that’s allowing Jumio to fight against it. 

Jumio relies on AI to learn the patterns and behaviors of scammers and then uses this knowledge to put safeguards in place. Jumio’s industry-leading approach to ID document verification, biometric analytics, and data checks are informed and checked by the service’s AI. As generative AI scams pose a growing threat to platforms and users, Bala hopes more platforms will begin to integrate AI to protect users.

“Jumio has seen over 700 million IDs at this point,” Bala said. “We’re operating at scale, meaning we’ve seen a lot of these attacks come through the door, and so we’ve got those patterns, and we’re starting to put the right controls in place. It’s so important for organizations to work with a service that’s on the frontlines of this battle with generative AI.”