In 2023, officials reported that Australians fell victim to AI deepfake scams, resulting in losses totaling $5.2 million.

Australian authorities issued a cautionary alert on Friday following revelations from the National Anti-Scam Centre, indicating that 400 individuals had collectively lost over 8 million Australian dollars (approximately $5.2 million) to online trading platform scams in 2023.

Catriona Lowe, deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), shed light on the intricate workings of these scams, which involve the fabrication of fake news articles and videos featuring prominent figures. “Scammers are fabricating false news articles and deepfake videos to dupe individuals into believing that celebrities and notable public figures are reaping substantial profits through online investment trading platforms, when, in reality, it’s a scam,” she explained.

In one documented case reported to the government’s Scamwatch service, an Australian man suffered a loss of 80,000 Australian dollars (about $52,255) in cryptocurrency after investing with a platform endorsed by billionaire Elon Musk in a deepfake video. Upon attempting to withdraw his funds, the man found himself locked out of his account.

“We are urging Australians to exercise caution and conduct thorough research before engaging in any investment opportunity, especially those promoted on social media,” emphasized Lowe in a statement. “These deceptive videos and news articles circulating on social media and video sharing platforms often tout the use of artificial intelligence or other emerging technologies, such as quantum computing, to yield high returns for investors, but this is unfounded.”

In July 2023, the ACCC and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) jointly established the National Anti-Scam Centre’s investment scam fusion cell to combat investment scams. Lowe noted a decline in losses to investment scams reported to Scamwatch since the establishment of this cell.

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