Half of young people using AI to write messages for Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, over half of young people (52%) aged 18-28 are planning to or considering using artificial intelligence to pen a love message, card or poem, according to research from cybersecurity company

McAfee’s second annual “Modern Love” study surveyed 7,000 people in seven countries worldwide and discovered that a fifth (20%) of Brits are using AI tools to help create photos or other content when dating online. A third of Brits – rising to 38% of men – are planning to or are considering using AI to write a Valentine’s card or other messages to a love interest.  

While one in four (44%) Brits are not confident they could identify AI-generated love messages, 61% of people said they would be hurt or offended if they found out AI wrote their Valentine’s message.   

The survey also revealed one in 10 Brits having communicated with a love interest which turned out to be AI-generated, and a fifth (19%) say their conversations with a potential love interest online turned out to be with a scammer. 

Says Steve Grobman, McAfee’s Chief Technology Officer:

“The possibilities of AI are endless, and unfortunately, so are the perils. For people who are shy about starting conversations, short on time to craft the perfect message, or whose photos could be brightened, AI offers tools to help enjoy all the fun and excitement that comes with online dating,” 

“Unfortunately, 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 scepticism, to pause before sharing sensitive information online, and to ensure they use the right tools to protect their privacy, identity, and personal information.”

Look out for scams

Those looking for love are often more vulnerable to scams, and cybercriminals use that vulnerability to their advantage. Over six in 10 Brits (62%) said they, or someone they know, have been contacted by a stranger via social media or text and started to chat with them regularly – with nearly half (47%) of those respondents saying the connection asked for a transfer of money. One in 10 (11%) of these people said the request was for more than £5,000.   

These findings underscore the escalating threat of romance scams in the digital dating world and the need for increased online dating security awareness and protection.

5 tips to protect yourself from online romance and AI scams

People can help prevent financial and emotional heartbreak by taking the following steps: 

  • Scrutinise any direct messages you receive from a love interest, via a dating app or social media. One way to spot a scammer is to watch for consistent, AI-generated messages. These are often quite generic or lack substance. Additionally, it’s important to be sure not to click on any links in messages you receive from someone you have not met in person.  
  • Do a reverse-image search of any profile pictures the person uses. If the search results show that your love interest is associated with another name or with details that don’t match up with what they’ve told you, you may be chatting with a scammer. 
  • Never send money or gifts to someone you haven’t met in person, even if they send you money first. Scammers often send money to soften up their victim and build trust, so don’t share personal or account information, even if the other person is forthcoming with theirs. 
  • Talk to someone you trust about this new love interest. It can be easy to miss things that don’t add up when you are feeling hopeful and excited. So, pay attention to your friends or family when they show signs of concern, and take the relationship slowly. 
  • Invest in tools to help identify online scams. McAfee’s portfolio of products includes innovative protection features that detect and protect you in real time from never-before-seen threats and scams. It also recently announced deepfake detection is on the horizon. 



Chris Price