ASIC Warning on Online Investment Scams

ASIC Warning On Online Investment Scams

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."

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.

Before investing, Australians can make these simple practical checks to reduce the risk of investment scams:

  • check ASIC's Investor alert list to keep informed about investments that could be fraudulent, a scam or unlicensed; and
  • go to ASIC's Check before you invest page regarding how to check if the company or person is licensed or authorised to offer the investment.

To learn more, visit the Australian Securities Investment Commissions website.

Ref: ASIC media release, 24-036MR, 1 March 2024


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