Scams promoted in fake news articles and deepfake videos cost Australians more than $8m last year | Personal finance

The federal government has warned consumers to beware of fake news articles and deepfake videos that endorse online investment trading platform scams, saying they cost Australians more than $8m last year.

The National Anti-Scam Centre said it had received more than 400 reports of these scams in 2023, including one that saw an Australian man lose $80,000 in cryptocurrency.

The scams work by creating fake news articles and videos featuring a celebrity – they are sometimes known as the “Kochie scam” because many of the fake articles include the former Sunrise host David Koch – which are embedded on social media or appear as advertisements on reputable news sites.

“Scammers are creating fake news articles and deepfake videos to convince people that celebrities and well-known public figures are making huge sums of money using online investment trading platforms, when in fact it is a scam,” said Catriona Lowe, the deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“We know of an Australian man who lost $80,000 in cryptocurrency after seeing a deepfake Elon Musk video interview on social media, clicking the link and registering his details through an online form. He was provided with an account manager and an online dashboard where he could see his investment supposedly making huge returns. But when he tried to withdraw the money – he was locked out of his account.”

The National Anti-Scam Centre said it had received complaints about scammers using the fake online trading platforms operating under the names Quantum AI, Immediate Edge, Immediate Connect, Immediate X3, and Quantum Trade Wave.

Sonia, not her real name, clicked on one of these fake articles on Facebook. It reported that the Matildas captain Samantha Kerr had had an argument with former athlete and television presenter Matt Shirvington.

“It wasn’t an investment thing, it was just a bit of gossip,” she said. “I thought, ‘oh that’s interesting’.”

The fake story quoted Kerr as saying that she had created wealth for herself outside football through shrewd investing, including through a particular online trading platform.

Sonia went on to the online trading platform’s website and left her name and number. “I was like, I’m not committing to anything … someone’s going to give me a call and that’s when I was going to just ask some questions.”

Sonia said someone from the company called her straight away and tried to get her to hand over her credit card details, for the minimum investment of $350. When she refused and said she wanted more time to think about it, the man pushed her to sign up immediately and then said he would call her again the next day.

skip past newsletter promotion

That night, Sonia spoke with her husband, who works in fraud prevention at a major bank. They looked up the company and realised it was a scam.

When the man called back the following day, she told him she would not be investing, but tried to be friendly and to placate him, because she knew the company had her phone number and she did not want them to harass her. It did not work.

Since then, Sonia said the company had called her more than 60 times.

“He just calls every two hours, all through the night. Just full trolling me now. So I never invested anything, but had I known that I would just be constantly trolled … I never would have even provided my details. I’m just like: this is so silly, why did I do it?

“I’ve got a brain. You’ve just got to be so careful. You feel like you need to justify your intelligence. But there are a lot of dodgy people out there, who are good at their jobs.”


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.