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Warning Issued as Australians Lose Millions to Online Investment Trading Scams

Warning Issued as Australians Lose Millions to Online Investment Trading Scams

The National Anti-Scam Centre of Australia has issued a stark warning to consumers, urging them to be vigilant against the proliferation of fake news articles and deepfake videos featuring public figures endorsing online investment trading platforms. These trading scams, often disseminated via social media, have cost Australians over $8 million, as reported last year, with Scamwatch fielding 400 complaints.

Deceptive Tactics and Prevalence of trading Scams

ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe underscored the severity of the issue, stating that scammers deploy deceptive tactics to portray celebrities and public figures as beneficiaries of online investment platforms, luring unsuspecting victims into financial ruin.

Last year’s figures included an Australian who lost $80,000 in cryptocurrency after falling prey to a deepfake video featuring Elon Musk, wherein he was enticed to invest through a fraudulent online form. Similar scams operate under names like ‘Quantum AI’, ‘Immediate Edge’, and others, promising high returns through supposed technological advancements like artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

The collaborative efforts of the National Anti-Scam Centre’s fusion cell, led by the ACCC and ASIC, have been instrumental in disrupting these scams. This initiative involves not only reporting fraudulent advertisements to social media platforms but also experimenting with methods to block payments to these scams directly.

Modus Operandi of Online Investment Trading Platform Scams

The modus operandi of online investment trading platform scams is cunningly simple. Scammers lure victims through enticing social media ads and deepfake videos, redirecting them to sham websites where personal information is solicited. Initially, victims are prompted to invest a small sum, usually around $250, through a credit card transaction. Subsequently, scammers often request the download of third-party trading platforms or provide login credentials for an online dashboard, showcasing fabricated profits to build trust.

As victims become more invested, scammers persuade them to increase their investment, occasionally allowing small withdrawals to foster a false sense of security. However, when victims attempt to retrieve their funds, scammers demand additional fees or cite fictitious tax obligations. In some cases, victims find themselves locked out of their accounts altogether.

The prevalence of these scams underscores the need for heightened awareness and caution among consumers navigating the online investment landscape. With scammers employing sophisticated tactics and leveraging the allure of celebrity endorsements, it becomes increasingly challenging to discern legitimate opportunities from fraudulent schemes. As such, individuals are urged to exercise due diligence, verify the credibility of investment platforms, and refrain from divulging personal information without thorough scrutiny.

In the face of mounting financial losses and reputational damage inflicted by online investment trading scams, collective vigilance and proactive measures remain paramount in safeguarding consumers against malicious exploitation.


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