Fraudulent investments are being advertised on social media and Action Fraud, the reporting watchdog, says a shocking £3,168,464 was lost to scammers between October 2018 and February 2019. On average, each victim lost a total of £8,900 per person.
Action Fraud want to warn the public about investments being used on social media, especially Instagram. They say young people, aged between 20 and 30 are most likely to be targeted and fall victim. Fraudsters are advertising ‘Get Rich Quick’ investment schemes, promising a high return within 24 hours. They have been asking victims for a initial £600 investment, which they claim can be multiplied within 24 hours.
Inspector Paul Carroll spoke to Action Fraud and Said: “Opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of unsuspecting victims who are going about their day-to-day lives on social media. If you think you have been a victim, contact Action Fraud.”
This is not the only problem Instagram is experiencing, the social media app is facing a flood of advertisements selling counterfeit products. Many of the fake ads promote highly discounted products like clothes, electronics, real estate and shoes that lead users to scam sites. Users are pulled in with highly discounted designer goods, only to find that the items are fake, poor quality or they have had their personal information stolen.
Instagram is not the only social media platform facing this issue. These ads appear on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. And it is extremely difficult for these companies to properly vet every add on their sites. So the advice is, buyer beware. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Action Fraud recommends the following advice to stay safe online:
- Never respond to any requests to send money, or have money transferred into your account by someone you don’t know and trust. These types of requests should always raise a red flag. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it.
- Don’t immediately agree to any offer that involves an advance payment or having to sign a contract on the spot. Always speak with a friend or family member first.
- Always check the credentials of any financial company on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) website: – they should be on the register. Contact the preferred company directly and reject any offers made through unsolicited communications.
- Every report maters – if you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.