.2 Million Lost to AI Deepfake Scams in Australia in 2023

Australian authorities have issued a warning urging the public to be cautious and vigilant against misinformation. The National Anti-Scam Centre reported that in 2023, 400 individuals fell victim to online trading platform scams, resulting in losses exceeding 8 million Australian dollars (around .2 million).

According to Catriona Lowe, deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), scammers are resorting to tactics such as creating fake news articles and deepfake videos featuring celebrities. These deceptive materials are crafted to convince people that well-known public figures are reaping significant profits from online investment trading platforms, when in reality, it’s a scam.

In a concerning case reported to the government’s Scamwatch service, an Australian man lost 80,000 Australian dollars (approximately ,255) in cryptocurrency after investing in a platform promoted by a deepfake video featuring billionaire Elon Musk. The victim faced complications when trying to withdraw his funds as he found himself locked out of his account.

Lowe emphasized the importance of thorough research before considering any investment opportunity, especially those promoted on social media. She highlighted that the circulation of fake videos and news articles on platforms like social media and video sharing sites often falsely claim that online trading platforms leverage advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence or quantum computing to generate high returns for investors, which is entirely false.

In a collaborative effort in July 2023, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) joined forces to establish the National Anti-Scam Centre’s investment scam fusion cell, with the aim of disrupting investment scams. Lowe pointed out a decrease in reported losses for investment scams since the fusion cell’s establishment.

The Australian public is urged to exercise caution, conduct thorough research, and remain vigilant against scams spreading misinformation through various platforms. The authorities continue to work diligently to combat fraudulent activities and protect individuals from falling victim to such deceitful schemes.