Travelers Getting Scammed on AI Travel Guides
As artificial intelligence tools create more and more consumer content, it’s no surprise that scammers are taking advantage. According to the New York Times, travelers who seek information on faraway places are among the victims. Consumers are led to believe they are purchasing guidebooks that have been carefully written by experienced travel writers. Instead, they are paying for vague, older material of little value that has been recycled from the internet.
“Shoddy guidebooks that appear to be compiled with the help of generative artificial intelligence, self-published and bolstered by sham reviews…have proliferated in recent months on Amazon,” the newspaper reported.
In one example, a Pennsylvania consumer thought she had ordered a highly rated travel guide for a visit to France, but was disappointed by the low-quality, repetitive text that offered little help for her planning. “It seemed like the guy just went on the internet, copied a whole bunch of information from Wikipedia and just pasted it in,” she told The Times.
The AI-generated travel guides lure consumers with fake, rave reviews, along with photos and text generated by AI. They land high up in online search results and have captured endorsements, such as an Alaska guide that Amazon rated as the top Travel Guide in its category.
Scam Watch has previously written about scammers using artificial intelligence to imitate the voices of loved ones in distress so they can cheat their victims out of money. Generative AI is providing scammers with other tools to trick the public, through words and images, and travel guides are not the sole example. According to The Times, the technology is creating books on cooking, gardening, religion, medicine, and self-help that may look original but merely pull together old material that lacks the value consumers believe they are paying for.