A US private equity business was today shocked after a fake press release appeared on the London Stock Exchange website alleging that the firm was planning to invest $1 billion into ChatGPT owner OpenAI.
The announcement, which appeared on the LSE’s regulatory news site, claimed that New York-based Ripplewood “would like to set up the software as a driving force in the fund” and that “in the event of a possible IPO a ChatGPT stake is a giant valuable asset…[a] bargain for investors.”
“The AI-supported investment opportunity is intended to be a user-friendly and cost-efficient solution to optimize investors’ portfolios. The market launch of the AI-supported investment option is planned for the end of 2023 if participation in OpenAI is successful,” the press release said.
Ripplewood has hired lawyers to investigate the appearance of the bogus corporate announcement, which appeared on the exchange via German news wire EQS News.
Ripplewood CEO and founder Tim Collins told the Standard: “This is illegal. We have contacted the authorities.”
The fake press release is suspected of being an attempt to deceive members of the public into handing cash to scammers posing as corporate advisers funding AI businesses.
The London Stock Exchange said it would remove the announcement from its website after discovering it was illegitimate.
A spokesperson said: “We were made aware of a potentially erroneous press release being displayed on the London Stock Exchange website and other news platforms. The non-regulatory press release originated from one of our newswire partners and upon notification from them, the press release was deleted from our website.”
EQS said: “Due to the negative feedback after the publication today we decided to deactivate the account [behind the press release] for now. We will further investigate.”
OpenAI did not respond to a request for comment.
The trick is the latest example of scammers pretending to be American investors to confuse unsuspecting members of the public. Hundreds of WhatsApp users have also been targeted by crooks posing as Goldman Sachs employees as part of a ploy to get them to invest in crypto schemes, the Standard previously reported.
Over £1.2 billion was stolen through fraud in Britain in 2022, according to data from UK Finance.
ChatGPT designer OpenAI is part-owned by Microsoft after it invested $10 billion into the company in January 2023.