Facebook scam
Social media scammers are using footage from Australian news segments Image by Facebook

Scammers manipulate TV news in bid to trick public

Meghan Williams December 23, 2022
WHAT WAS CLAIMED

Australian news organisations have promoted several money-making schemes.

OUR VERDICT

False. The videos have been manipulated.

Several Australian TV news clips have been manipulated in order to legitimise online scams.

In recent weeks AAP FactCheck has debunked several such clips (see here, here, and here). However, in recent days the numbers have increased significantly.

AAP FactCheck has since come across more than 10 such videos in the last 48 hours ÔÇö all claiming to show reports from accredited Australian news media about investment schemes and gambling mobile apps.

All have been manipulated.

One ad (here and here, screenshot here) uses a July 2022 news clip from Nine News. The original report ÔÇö a weather report ÔÇö has been cut with alternative footage and overlaid with a voiceover to make it seem as if the newsreader is promoting a gambling app.

Other ads use edited February and July 2022 segments from A Current Affair (ACA) to promote an “investment platform for beginners” (here, screenshot here) and something called “the maximizer program” (here and here, screenshot here).

ACA scam
 The same scams have been posted from multiple accounts. 

Another ad (screenshot here) manipulates a June 2022 Nine News report to entice users to join an oil and gas investment scheme.

Numerous other videos use Australian news clips, supposedly promoting Commonwealth Bank investment schemes, in a bid to get Facebook users to click on suspicious links.

For instance, one uses an edited August 2022 Nine News clip (here, here, here, and here, screenshot here); another (screenshot here) uses a Sky News Australia clip from November 2021; others use ACA clips from August 2021 (here, screenshot here) and November 2022 (here, here, here and here, screenshot here).

Another has used footage from Sky News Australia overlaid with audio from a 2020 ACA segment (here, here and here, screenshot here). 

The Facebook pages provide several major red flags for scam content. The majority were created within the last few months, have very few followers and display suspicious behaviours such as unusual and frequent username changes, profile pictures taken from other sources, and content that doesn’t match the page information. 

One page‘s profile picture, for example, appears to have been taken from this website. Another account describes itself as a “Beauty, cosmetic & personal care” page, but uses Commonwealth Bank branding in its cover photo. Since September, when it was created, it has operated under three different names: “ðÉÐÇðÁð¢ð┤ð░OI”, “Fresh News” and “CommBank AU”.

CommBank warning
 Commonwealth Bank has issued a warning about “fake articles” that use its branding. 

Some of the posts have been made on accounts that appear to have been hacked.

For example, the verified account of Romanian musician Adrian Despot, who has 116,000 followers, began posting these ads and others this month. But in a November post from his Instagram account, the musician told his followers his Facebook page had been hacked. 

In October, Commonwealth Bank issued a warning about social media posts that exploit the bank’s brand to lure people into fake investment schemes.

The statement cautions that “these scams often require urgent payments to be made to third party accounts” and urges people to “please Stop, Check and Reject if it is not legitimate”. 

The Verdict

A range of videos that claim to show accredited Australian news organisations promoting money-making schemes and online gambling apps are fake. 

The videos have been manipulated, using real clips from various news segments that have been spliced with alternative voiceovers and unrelated footage.

False ÔÇô The claim is inaccurate.

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