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Instasham: Fraudulent investments being advertised on social media

  • Action Fraud is warning Instagram users to be wary of fraudulent investment posts offering ‘get rich quick’ schemes on the app.
  • Between October 2018 and February 2019, 356 reports of this fraud were made to Action Fraud.
  • The total loss was a shocking £3,168,464 – an average of £8,900 per person.
How is this happening?
 
Action Fraud has seen an increased number of investment schemes being advertised on Instagram over recent months, with young people aged between 20 and 30 the most likely to fall victim.
 
Fraudsters are advertising ‘get rich quick’ investment schemes on the app, which promise a high return within 24 hours. A £600 investment is initially requested which fraudsters claim will be multiplied within 24 hours. 
 
Victims are then making payments via bank transfer to the fraudster’s bank account. Fraudsters are then sending screenshots of thousands in profit crediting their accounts, which they claim can be released for a fee. Victims have requested to withdraw their funds while they’re still in profit, and at this stage the fraudsters are stopping contact with the victim and closing the Instagram account. 
 
Inspector Paul Carroll, of Action Fraud, said:
 
“Opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of unsuspecting victims who are going about their day-to-day lives on social media. 
 
“It’s vital that you follow the simple steps below to make sure you don’t fall victim to this fraud.
 
“If you think you have been a victim, contact Action Fraud.”
 
Stay safe when scrolling:
  • 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.

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