As Valentine’s Day is around the corner, beware, the love of your life might not be human but a machine. A report by McAfee shows 26 per cent of Indians’ surveyed found they’d talked with a potential love interest, to discover it was actually an AI-generated bot and not a real person.

At least 77 per cent of Indians said they’d come across fake profiles and/or photos that look AI-generated on dating websites, or apps, or on social media. Further, the prevalence of romance scams emerged with 39 per cent of Indians saying their conversations with a potential love interest online turned out to be with a scammer.

Also, 91 per cent of Indians revealed they, or someone they knew, had been contacted by a stranger through social media or text message and started to “chat” with them regularly to know them better.

Those looking for love are often more vulnerable to scams when connecting with strangers, and cybercriminals use that vulnerability to their advantage by engaging in long and sophisticated attempts to steal from victims, said the report.

“We know cybercriminals also use AI to scale malicious activity. With love-seekers spending more time online leading up to Valentine’s Day, scammers are using AI to pose as love interests to steal your money or personal information. We encourage people to balance romantic hope with healthy skepticism, to pause before sharing sensitive information online, and to ensure they use the right tools to protect their privacy, identity, and personal information,” said Steve Grobman, McAfee’s Chief Technology Officer.

Furthermore, the study also discovered that 65 per cent Indians have used ChatGPT/AI to help create pics or other content for a dating app. Specifically this Valentine’s Day, 56 per cent of Indians are planning to or considering using AI to write messages for their love interest as it helps boost their confidence.

However, this contrasts sharply with people’s feelings about receiving AI-generated content: 60 per cent of people said they would be hurt or offended if they found out their Valentine’s Day message was written by a machine / Artificial Intelligence. Despite mixed feelings and experiences, the effectiveness of AI is undeniable. 81 per cent of people reported receiving more interest and better responses using AI-generated content than when they drafted or used their own original content