Mar 28, 2024

Perth Grandmother loses $10,000 in Facebook scam

Perth Grandma loses $10,000 in sophisticated Facebook scam
Image [Source: Shutterstock.]

An Australian grandmother from Perth fell victim to a sophisticated Facebook scam, resulting in a loss of $10,000, after she was tricked into believing she was assisting a friend.

Sally Marchant, 59, received a message from what she thought was her friend’s account on the social media platform just before Christmas.

Unbeknownst to her, her friend’s account had been compromised by scammers utilising artificial intelligence (AI) to impersonate her friend and convince her to send money.

Marchant was promised a return of $200,000 if she sent $10,000 to her ‘friend’.

Encouraged by the convincing messages, she withdrew the money from her mortgage and transferred it without hesitation. However, shortly after the transaction, she began to feel uneasy about the situation.

Feeling embarrassed and humiliated by the ordeal, Marchant reflected on her mistake in an interview with 9News.

‘They were really encouraging saying,”Yeah do it, do it”,’ Ms Marchant told Nine News.’I really believed I was talking to my friend, messaging him.’ 

It was only after contacting her friend directly that she discovered she had been duped.

“I phoned him and physically spoke to him and he just went, ‘No, no’, he knew nothing about it,” she said. “You could have spent that on so many other wonderful things. So I was cross with myself, I was quite humiliated, said Ms Marchant”

A growing problem 

As technological advancements continue to reshape our digital landscape, older individuals are increasingly becoming targets of online scams, exacerbated by the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI). 

Statistics reveal a disturbing trend: Australians aged over 65 are among the most vulnerable demographics to fall victim to these fraudulent schemes, particularly those propagated through social media platforms.

Scammers can now leverage AI technology to craft sophisticated and convincing impersonations, mimicking the identities of trusted individuals or institutions through texts and emails with alarming accuracy. This tactic creates a false sense of familiarity and trust, making it easier to deceive unsuspecting victims.

The use of AI also extends beyond textual interactions, with some scammers capable of mimicking a person’s voice during phone calls or in voice notes, further enhancing the illusion of legitimacy.

This level of deception makes it increasingly difficult for individuals, especially older ones who may be less tech-savvy, to discern genuine communications from fraudulent ones.

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