A fabricated press release that emerged on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) website has stunned a US private equity firm. The fake announcement falsely claimed that New York-based Ripplewood was planning a $1 billion investment into OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT.
The counterfeit release, featured on LSE’s regulatory news site, suggested that Ripplewood intended to integrate the software into their fund as a driving force and highlighted the potential value of a ChatGPT stake in the event of a future IPO. The press release further stated that the AI-driven investment opportunity was set to optimise portfolios and was slated for market launch by the end of 2023, pending a successful partnership with OpenAI.
Ripplewood has engaged legal experts to investigate the origin of the fraudulent announcement, which was disseminated through German news wire EQS News. Ripplewood’s CEO and founder, Tim Collins, emphasised the illegality of the situation and confirmed that authorities had been alerted.
The deceptive press release is believed to be an attempt to swindle unsuspecting individuals into providing funds to fraudsters posing as corporate advisors seeking investments in AI ventures.
Upon identifying the false release, the London Stock Exchange promptly removed it from their platform. An LSE spokesperson explained that the non-regulatory press release originated from a newswire partner and was removed from their website upon notification.
German newswire EQS, the source through which the false press release was distributed, acknowledged the negative response and deactivated the account responsible for the publication, promising further investigation.
OpenAI, the organisation behind ChatGPT, did not provide a comment on the matter.
This incident is another instance of scammers attempting to deceive the public by impersonating investors, a tactic that has been employed by criminals targeting individuals through various means, including social media platforms like WhatsApp. Scammers often exploit the reputation of well-known financial institutions to trick victims into investing in fraudulent schemes.
In 2022, fraud resulted in over £1.2 billion in losses in the UK, according to data from UK Finance.
OpenAI, the designer of ChatGPT, counts Microsoft as one of its investors, with a $10 billion investment made in January 2023.
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