According to Action Fraud, a UK police-led awareness centre, victims mostly in their 20’s, are experiencing an average £8,900 loss from investment scams posted on the popular image-sharing platform Instagram. Action Fraud said there had been a surge in activity in recent months by fraudsters posting about get-rich-quick schemes.
Victims are promised high returns within 24 hours, but the fraudsters demand fees and then disappear. Action Fraud has received over 356 reports of losses in the past five months, with collective total losses in excess of £3m. with actual losses expected to be considerably higher as some victims may not have reported their losses.
Using the Instagram App, scammers encourage their victims to transfer £600, with a promise of almost instantaneous profits. Once the money is paid, victims receive images alleging to be of profits building up in their accounts. The fraudsters tell their victims to “invest” more and advise them to pay a fee to release the money, causing losses to build up into the thousands of pounds. After the fee is paid the scammers close the Instagram account, stop all contact, and disappear with the money.
This issue is not going away in the foreseeable future, with over 2 million Instagram posts promoting these types of financial fraud, (known as Money Flipping) identified so far. It’s the old adage: If something looks and sound too good to be true, it nearly always is! Always seek professional advice or speak to a family member before making any kind of investment decision.
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