While online dating is known to be highly lucrative, it is also open to many pitfalls, most of which involve the loss of both time and money for its most active users. The most recent example can be found in China, where a report said that a total of 12 different Chinese dating apps had to be shut down due to fraudulent behavior.
To be more specific, it is said that all these dating apps had to be shut down immediately once it was discovered that the women who were supposedly using it — using their own profiles and even chatting with male users all the while — were, in fact, robots that were made by programmers and ran on artificial intelligence. Men were having conversations with chat bots, so the authorities began a crackdown on these fraudulent applications.
According to a report from China-based New Express, Chinese police have decided to shut down apps that were linked to a total of more than 20 different companies. Police likewise arrested more than 600 suspects connected with the operation. The alleged criminals reportedly operated across 13 different Chinese provinces.
After further investigation, the police also found that there was at least one company that managed to create so-called “sexy girl” accounts that were able to generate greeting messages and even compliments, which could then be targeted and sent to newly registered users, who were often victimized.
The standard process involved asking for gifts and convincing users to spend money while they were on the dating site, according to the police report. It reads, “They solicited gifts and posted other messages to lure the user into spending money, and thus illegally generating profit.” According to the same police report, there are tens of thousands of people who are believed to have been cheated out of their money, amounting to a total of one billion yuan or around $154 million.
While this may all seem a bit funny at first, it’s actually quite alarming. If the level of artificial intelligence shown here, and it’s certainly not as advanced as the state of the art currently, is enough to fool thousands of individuals into collectively spending more than a hundred million dollars, then there is something deeply troubling about the whole situation.
It’s truly a fortunate thing that the police were able to stop the culprit behind these operations. They were reportedly working as gangs spread across various company names, and located all around cities in China, like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. The worst of their operation involved charging users a fee that they liked to call a “VIP charge” in exchange for certain services. But most of the time, these services weren’t even available for the user, simply because they don’t even exist.
What’s next for dating apps? There are still many legitimate ones out there that are available for use, of course. But between this incident and the many other reported online dating scams in other part of the world, it’s understandable if people start to lose interest in online dating. Good thing there are other alternatives readily available that try to address the needs of those who are looking for help in meeting their matches.
Like what you’re reading? You can read more articles on how the public can be scammed into something at DisInfo.news.