Fake news just entered a whole new level. An Australian woman became a victim of an online investment scam that used fake ABC News articles, costing her a loss of more than $600,000.
Scammers, who are getting more creative by the day, created a fake ABC News site, including fake interviews done supposedly with Andrew Forrest, a mining billionaire. Using Mr. Forrest’s name, they managed to create articles about investments that could fool just about anyone. The items were used to created investment ads, promoted on social media.
An Australian woman became a victim of this scam when she came across the advertisements for an online trading platform and entered the scam site, which looked incredibly legitimate. And who can blame her? A news site that looks real with interviews of a known persona is not something to normally suspect. Can it be prevented? Yes. Using a tool like Guardio will alert you about scam sites like this.
The Australian victim transferred a total of about $670,000 to these scammers, which sadly, she will never see again. To make her feel like her investment was real when she asked to for a refund from her investment, the scammers transferred her back $50,000 and even sent her a Louis Vuitton bag worth $2700 (if it was a real LV) on her birthday.
Sadly, we know how these stories end. The victim started asking for more of her investment back, and the so-called investment company became hard to reach and wasn’t responding to her request.
When did she realize she was being scammed? The Australian victim began to receive text messages of order confirmations, from orders she never made. The scammers were using her information and stole her identity for their desires.
In many scam cases, the victim tends to blame themselves and feel ashamed. The Australian victim was so upset and felt terrible that she was afraid to tell her dear husband that she had lost their money. Luckily her husband was incredibly supportive and never blamed her once.
Being scammed can cause anxiety, and these feelings should be addressed; no one should feel ashamed for becoming a victim of any kind. Talking about it can help deal with these feelings and can also help to prevent others from falling for the scam.
The scammers have not been tracked down yet. Authorities can’t always help with online scams, as the scammers transfer the money from one country to another, and scammers like these who use tools that hide the identity of the site owners are hard to trace.
How can you protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft?
- Use 2 step authentication for all your logins. This way even if someone hacked your passwords, they won’t be able to log in without your mobile.
- Passwords: Create a monthly reminder to change your passwords. You can use a tool like 1password to create strong passwords.
- Use a safety tool like Guardio that will alert you immediately when entering online danger zones. [See how it works]
- Monitor your email and phone closely. Order confirmation messages should raise a red flag, don’t click on anything in the message or link, but go to your bank account to see what the order is.
- Monitor your bank account closely - lookout for any transactions that you don’t recognize.
Be sure to share these tips with your loved ones to keep them safe.
If you have any questions about identity theft and online threats, feel free to talk to us, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org