From a death hoax that went viral to his identity being stolen and used in fake endorsements by cruel scammers, it’s been a tough few years for television presenter David Koch.
The long-time Sunrise host, 67, sent shockwaves around the television world on Monday when he choked back tears while announcing he’s leaving the program in a fortnight after 21 years on the program.
The longest-serving breakfast TV anchor in Australian history has become increasingly fed up with fraudsters using his photo in fake ads online trying to lure thousands from Aussies.
Koch has unwittingly been the face of countless scams over the years, promoting everything from erectile dysfunction pills and Bitcoin investments to fake cryptocurrency trading apps and kitchen benchtops.
David Koch (right) has repeatedly called for a tougher crackdown on online scammers
The online scams have appeared everywhere from real estate and news websites to even weather apps.
At least one Aussie woman lost $150,000 of her life savings while another man recently lost $30,000 within seconds.
Just six weeks ago, a horrified Koch was scrolling through properties on one of Australia’s leading real estate websites.
He came across a fake ad showing a digitally altered photo of him surrounded by police with the headline: ‘Thousands flock to ATMs after Kochie’s arrest’.
‘This one takes the cake… this on @realestate_au. Out of control,’ Koch fumed on Twitter
‘Scammers con you by illegally using my image and fake comments. They are the scum of the earth… and unfortunately there is not a single thing I can do about it.’
Days earlier, Koch addressed a ‘bloody annoying’ death hoax after criminals used his image and fake news of his passing to scam people out of thousands of dollars.
He was bombarded with ‘tributes’ while he was on leave from Sunrise when a Twitter post announcing his death went viral.
Originating from a hacked account, the tweet included a link redirecting users to a cryptocurrency scam featuring fraudulent celebrity endorsements purporting to be from the likes of Koch, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and others.
‘Although saying goodbye is never easy, we take comfort in knowing that Kochie lived a full and meaningful life, leaving behind a legacy of kindness, warmth and compassion,’ the scam tweet read.
The message was accompanied by a black and white photo of Koch looking distraught with his hands over his face.
The Sunrise host was mortified after coming across this ad on a reputable real estate website
The hoax was viewed 140,000 times and more than 6,000 Twitter users clicked on the advertisement, which led them to a website pushing Immediate Edge, a ‘get-rich-quick’ scam boasts fake endorsements from celebrities such as Jeremy Clarkson, Piers Morgan and Justin Trudeau.
At the time of his ‘death’, the Port Adelaide Power chairman was in Adelaide with his family enjoying AFL’s inaugural Gather Round before they headed to Far North Queensland for a few days.
Just for clarity I’m alive and well and enjoying #gatherround in Adelaide with all my family. ‘This stuff is really giving me the s**ts,’ Koch wrote.
He spoke to 2GB’s Ben Fordham on-air a few days later to prove he was still alive.
‘I am alive and well and having a break in beautiful Palm Cove at the moment, [the tweet] is certainly far from the truth,’ he said.
‘It’s so bloody annoying… This just one of of a number of scam that are using my images and fake comments from me promoting the benefits of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It’s saying this is a way to make your fortune.’
‘It’s ridiculous. There’s another one doing the rounds that I’ve been arrested because authorities are coming up with a scheme that will make you a fortune.’
‘They’re at plague proportions at the moment!’
Koch added he’d reported the scams to authorities who told him there were limits of what they can do.
‘I’ve talked to the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), and they’ve told me the only reason these scams keep going is because people are falling for it and losing money, otherwise they wouldn’t use me,’ he said.
‘My issue is that I get emails from people caught in this thinking they are real and blaming me for it, so what do I do to protect myself from this let alone the Australians losing their hard earned cash?’
A few days earlier, Koch was the target of a cruel death hoax during a week off from Sunrise
In January, Koch was fuming after he discovered yet another fraudulent advert using his name.
Online viewers were urged to click on a link by alluding to Koch being involved in a ‘shocking scandal’, or promising to reveal how the finance expert has accumulated wealth.
Koch has made repeated calls for social media platforms to put a stop to these scam advertisements.
He’s also called for tougher government crackdowns on fraudsters and took out his frustration out on federal assistant Stephen Jones in a fiery television interview last November.
‘I had a bloke on the weekend contact me through Facebook, abusing me because he had lost $30,000 on a scam that used my picture and dodgy comments from me,’ Koch told the assistant treasurer.
‘Here at Channel Seven, we get sued by you and the ACCC if we run a dodgy ad. Why can’t Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn take the same responsibilities as mainstream media groups?’
‘It’s just heartbreaking for our viewers that get sucked in by these sorts of things.’
A defeated Kochie added: ‘I can’t do anything about it’.
Weeks earlier, he screenshot of a fake online article spotted on a UK weather app that claimed to reveal how much money he ‘really earned’.
His daughter’s friend was looking at a UK weather app last October when she spotted another online scam fraudulently using a photo of the Sunrise host
David Koch (pictured) has become fed up with fraudsters using his photo in fake ads aimed at scamming Aussies
‘These scammers are getting out of control. My daughter’s friend in the UK was checking her weather app of all things… and up pops a scam ad. BEWARE. They are getting to plague proportions,’ Koch fumed on Instagram in October.
In 2019, Koch and his wife of 44 years Libby found themselves at the centre of an online scam relating to Bitcoin investment.
‘SCAM WARNING; ANY STORY OR ADVERTISEMENT CLAIMING THE KOCH’S RECOMMEND BITCOIN AS AN INVESTMENT IS A SCAM,’ his lengthy post began
‘It is driving us crazy the con artists using Libby and I as bait to lure people into investing in Bitcoin.’
‘Facebook are doing their best to take them down but then they pop back up using different offshore servers
A year earlier in 2018, Koch was also forced to deny any association with fraudulent adverts promoting erectile dysfunction treatments after he unwittingly found himself as the face of an online campaign.
‘For those who might be tempted… be warned the erectile dysfunction advertisements doing the rounds online using my image are fake,’ Koch warned.
The Sunrise host (right) announced on Monday that he’s quitting Sunrise after 21 years at the helm of the Channel Seven breakfast program