June 16, 2024

Scammers have sported Robert Irwin’s image in an effort to steal from innocent individuals. This fraud involved the use of AI to generate fake images of famous figures like David Koch, Andrew Forrest, and Elon Musk. In 2023, this type of scam left countless Australians more than $8 million poorer.

As an unfortunate new addition to this scheme, AI-generated images of Irwin, notably one showing him seemingly being “arrested”, have been circulated on social media. But, contrary to the frightening faux images, Robert Irwin remains a free man.

The goal of the erroneous Robert Irwin image is to swindle unsuspecting victims out of hundreds of dollars. Connected to the aforementioned image is a link leading to a fabricated news article which declares that Irwin is being sued by a bank over statements he made relating to a trading platform called Trade iPlex 100.

Apart from stealing money from innocent victims, these scams also damage the reputations of celebrities. Because of this issue, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is urging citizens to critically scrutinize investments they see on social media.

“Scammers are using false news articles and deepfake videos to persuade people that public figures and celebrities are making huge amounts of money using online investment trading platforms, when in fact it is a scam,” warns ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe.

Citizens are strongly urged to avoid falling for the dilemma that one man had to endure after losing $80,000 due to a scam that featured Elon Musk.

### Frequently Asked Questions

What red flags should I watch for to avoid these scams?

Scamwatch advises individuals to be cautious of scenarios of unrealistically grand investment opportunities, urgent requests for aid involving financial assistance, questionable links or attachments, pressure to act quickly, unusual payment requests, and demands to set up new financial accounts.

What steps can be taken if I realize I’ve fallen for a scam?

If you find that you’ve been the victim of a scam, immediately report the situation to your bank as well as the police. Act swiftly to halt any ongoing transactions and cease sending money. Victims are also encouraged to seek emotional support, either via financial counselling or by contacting BeyondBlue or Lifeline.

Can these scammers be traced and held accountable?

Although it’s often challenging to find and prosecute these online scammers due to their clever methods of avoiding detection, reporting the crime can aid authorities in identifying patterns and possibly locating the perpetrator. As such, victims are encouraged to report these scams not only to protect themselves, but also to help protect others.