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AI deepfake scams tricked Australians out of $5.2 million in 2023: officials




The Australian authorities on Friday warned its people to be cautious of misinformation after the National Anti-Scam Centre revealed that 400 people reported losing over 8 million Australian dollars (about $5.2 million) to online trading platform scams in 2023.

Catriona Lowe, deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), said the scams work by creating fake news articles and videos featuring a celebrity. "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."

In one case reported to the government's Scamwatch service, an Australian man lost 80,000 Australian dollars (about $52,255) in cryptocurrency after investing it with a platform he saw being promoted by billionaire Elon Musk in a deep fake video. The man was locked out of his account when he tried to withdraw his money from the service.

"We are urging Australians to take their time and do their research before taking up an investment opportunity, particularly those seen on social media," Lowe said in a statement. "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."

In July 2023, the ACCC and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) established the National Anti-Scam Centre's investment scam fusion cell to disrupt investment scams. There had been a downward trend in losses to investment scams reported to Scamwatch since the cell was set up, according to Lowe.

(With input from Xinhua)

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