An AI Chatbot is Catching Dating App Scammers

A programmer from Shanghai, known as Turing’s Cat, has created a chatbot that reports and distracts scammers on dating apps. The AI chatbot has already lead to dozens of suspicious fraudsters being reported to the authorities. 

The chatbot, appearing to be a genuine female user, can engage in free-flowing and realistic conversations with scammers. Eventually, Turing’s Cat will report these profiles to the authorities, after having wasted their time and distracted them from other genuine targets.

In an interview with Sixth Tone, the programmer revealed one instance where a scammer sent the chatbot money, hoping for a “high-return investment” in exchange. This demonstrated the believability of the AI, and the money was later donated to charity.

The chatbot was developed using open-source national language models, as well as training from reading online comments. The programmer only lets the chatbot speak independently with scammers once they’ve moved off the dating app onto a messaging platform.

“While one scammer can chat with up to a dozen people at the same time, AI has no upper limit”, Turing’s Cat explained.

 “As long as the server is powerful enough, it can chat with thousands of scammers at the same time. Even if the scammers soon find out they are chatting with AI, it takes up time that they would have spent approaching real people, and thus reduces the probability of other victims being scammed”, they told Sixth Tone.

Sixth Tone highlights that online fraud in China is no laughing matter, with organisations in the country tackling 394,000 telephone and internet fraud cases, with more than 630,000 arrests.