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It’s a scam! Celebrities and influencers are not getting rich on online investment platforms

The National Anti-Scam Centre is warning consumers to beware of fake news articles and deepfake videos of public figures that endorse and link to online investment trading platform scams, particularly on social media.

Last year, Australians reported losing more than $8 million to online investment trading platform scams, with 400 reports made to Scamwatch.

“We are urging Australians to take their time and do their research before taking up an investment opportunity – particularly those seen on social media,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.

“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.”

“These fake videos and news articles circulating on social media and video sharing platforms, often claim that the online trading platform uses artificial intelligence or other emerging technologies such as quantum computing to generate high returns for investors, but it is not true,” Ms Lowe said.

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“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.”

Reports to Scamwatch indicate the most prolific online investment trading platform scam appears under the brand ‘Quantum AI’. Others include ‘Immediate Edge’, ‘Immediate Connect’, ‘Immediate X3’, and ‘Quantum Trade Wave’.

The National Anti-Scam Centre’s investment scam fusion cell, co-led by the ACCC and ASIC, has been active in disrupting investment scams such as online investment trading platform scams.

“In addition to referring these scam ads to social media platforms for removal, the fusion cell has developed a trial method for blocking payments to these scams,” Ms Lowe said.

“It has been encouraging to see an overall downward trend in losses reported to Scamwatch to investment scams since the establishment of the fusion cell in July 2023.”

“The ACCC and ASIC will continue to work together as part of the National Anti-Scam Centre’s efforts to stop scammers from harming Australians.”

How online investment trading platform scams work

  • Scammers entice victims through social media advertisements, deepfake videos on video sharing platforms and fake online news articles about celebrities and well-known public figures claiming to make substantial money from online trading platforms.
  • This fake click bait will link to a scam website where victims are prompted to enter their details. This is the gateway for communication between the scammer and victim.
  • Scammers ask for a small investment of around $250 via credit card to provide access to the trading platform.
  • Scammers will often ask the new investor to download a third-party trading platform via the relevant app store or provide the investor with login details for an online dashboard.
  • After showing profits through a dedicated online dashboard, scammers persuade their victims to invest more. Sometimes scammers will allow victims to make a small withdrawal early in the scam to build trust.
  • When the victim eventually tries to withdraw their funds, scammers will ask for withdrawal fees or cite tax implications to obtain more money. Some victims have reported being locked out of their account.
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