New financial scam sweeps across Australia—learn how to spot these telltale signs

In the digital age, Australians are enjoying the convenience of technology in many aspects of life.

However, with this advancement comes a new breed of sophisticated scams that are catching even the savviest of individuals off guard.

Recently, 2GB host Ben Fordham brought to light a particularly alarming scam that every Australian, especially those over 60, needs to be aware of: AI-generated video scams.

These scams use artificial intelligence to create highly convincing fake videos, known as deepfakes, which can manipulate footage to make it appear as though a person is saying or doing something they never did.

The result is a disturbingly realistic video that can easily deceive viewers.

2GB host Ben Fordham warned Aussies against AI-generated video scams. Image source: Freepik

Finance Expert Peter Switzer became an unwitting participant in such a scam when his likeness was used to promote fraudulent get-rich-quick schemes.

Fordham showed him a deepfake video that featured him endorsing a stock club offering dubious 'free stock diagnostic services.'

Upon hearing the AI-generated video, Switzer was understandably shocked and concerned about how to inform the public that the endorsement was not genuinely from him.

The man in the video said: ‘Join our stock club and you will receive free stock diagnostic services where the world's leading stock experts will provide you with…’

‘Who is that man talking?’ Fordham asked.

‘Gee, it sounds like me in my younger days,’ Switzer claimed.

Fordham explained the the scam to Switzer: ‘It's you, it's a video doing the rounds right now. It's an AI scam. You are promoting a stock club and they release stock information every day before 7 p.m.’

‘Oh my God. How do we make sure people know it's not me?’ Switzer asked.

The clue that gives these scams away, as Fordham pointed out, is often a subtle but detectable inconsistency within the video.

In Switzer's case, his typically Australian accent shifted to an American one partway through the video. This sudden change is a red flag that the video is not authentic.

But the problem doesn't stop with just one fake video. Former Sunrise host David Koch also found himself a victim of these scams, with his image being digitally altered to appear bloodied and bruised.

The fake ads not only damage the reputations of those depicted but also have real-world consequences for individuals who fall for them.

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David Koch shared a warning on social media about scammers using his photo. Image source: @kochie_online/X (Twitter)

One such individual, Gary Meachen, a 71-year-old from Broke in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, tragically lost his life savings of $411,000 to a scam featuring a deepfake video of Elon Musk and other prominent personalities.

The video promised a life-changing financial opportunity, but instead, it led to financial ruin for Meachen, who is now reliant on his pension.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported that Australians lost a staggering $2.7 billion to scams in 2023, with investment scams accounting for the lion's share at $1.3 billion.

Older Australians are particularly vulnerable, with losses for those over 65 increasing by 13.3 per cent to $120 million.

Scammers target this demographic due to their perceived lack of tech-savviness and the likelihood of having accumulated savings and superannuation.

To protect yourself and your loved ones from these AI video scams, it's crucial to remain vigilant and sceptical of any unsolicited financial advice or opportunities, especially those that come from social media or unverified sources.

Always look for inconsistencies in videos, such as changes in accent or lip-sync issues, and verify the information through official channels before taking any action.

If you suspect you've encountered a scam, report it immediately to the ACCC's Scamwatch and consider informing the relevant authorities.

Remember, if an investment opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Gary Meachen saw this AI-generated video featuring Elon Musk, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Sunrise host Natalie Barr, Today host Karl Stefanovic, ex-Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and commentator Piers Morgan:

Source: Dan Halpin/YouTube​

Key Takeaways
  • 2GB host Ben Fordham has highlighted a new AI-generated video scam targeting Aussies, with Finance Expert Peter Switzer being the latest victim.
  • The fake videos manipulate the subject's appearance and voice to trick people into investing in fraudulent schemes.
  • A tell-tale sign that these videos are fake is an inconsistency in the speaker's accent, as noted in the clip featuring Peter Switzer.
  • Australians lost a staggering $2.7 billion to scams in 2023, with investment scams being the most significant contributor to these losses.
We at the Seniors Discount Club urge our members to stay informed and cautious. Share this information with friends and family to help them stay safe from these deceptive practices.

Have you or someone you know encountered a scam like this? Share your experiences in the comments below to help raise awareness within our community.
I have met several scammers on Facebook attempting to gain my trust. Scammers always start off with usual hello, how are you going and then they soon come up with some excuse or reason to ask you for money. One scammer attempted to impersonate a close friend who I thought I was talking with over Facebook. It was the insistence of the scammer that everything was above board (Grants from world Monetary Fund). I contacted my friend through her official Facebook page, and I found out she new nothing of this scam. Another tried to tell me they were in Syria and wanted to contact his son in the UK and need a Apple gift cart for $100.00 because he could not get the cards. Another scammer asked me for money for food / rent after telling me she owned her business and employed several people who work for her. If they ask for money, then chances are it is a scam, and you will never see your money again. DO NOT give away personal information such as bank details through any unsolicited phone call, message or online encounter. (1) Look at the scammers Facebook page. A dead giveaway is that the page has only recently been created. (2) look at the number of posts the person has posted, scammers usually have only a few posts or the same post repeated over and over. (3) look at the number of Friends in their list, most scammers will have only a few friends listed. Pay attention to names, scammers will duplicate friends in a list using different profile images, but many have the same name because they are lazy. If someone on social media or an unsolicited phone call ask you for money, then block them and hang up.

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