Some 164 users of the Facebook-owned social network have had over £350,000 stolen from them by internet scammers in the space of just one month. During June of this year Action Fraud received reports from Instagram users who had fallen victim to fraudulent investment schemes. These ‘money flipping’ services ended up conning Instagram users out of a staggering £358,809 in total.
As explained in a post online, the scam begins with an Instagram user receiving an instant message advertising the alleged service.
According to the sender, for a return of just a few hundred pounds the recipient will have their investment multiplied several times.
The money that is sent across allegedly will be traded on the stock market or used to buy and trade foreign currency.
And the recipient will allegedly only have to wait a few days to get their windfall sent across, with the sender claiming they’ll only take a small commission.
However, once the money is sent across the scammer that had been posing as an investor stops all contact with the victim and blocks them from contacting them.
To make matters worse, money is usually asked to be sent across via a cryptocurrency platform which makes it almost “impossible” to retrieve the victims’ money.
Action Fraud explained: “Once the initial investment has been transferred the victim is given a series of excuses as to why their money and ‘profits’ cannot be returned unless more money is sent.
“Eventually all contact is severed and the victim is blocked by the suspect. Victims are usually requested to send the money by bank transfer or through a cryptocurrency platform which means it is nearly impossible to retrieve.
“Whilst individual financial losses from this fraud are comparably smaller than other types of fraudulent investment schemes, this fraud targets a younger demographic, typically aged between 20 and 30, with less savings or those who are financially vulnerable and are searching for a quick and easy way to make money.”
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud then you can report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
While here is some advice from Action Fraud on how to make sure you don’t fall victim to one of these unscrupulous scams…
Unsolicited offers: A common tactic used by criminals is to promote “investment” opportunities via social media accounts, promising large returns from a small up-front payment. Never respond to any requests to send money, or have money transferred through your account, by someone you don’t know and trust.
Investment opportunities: Don’t be rushed into making an investment. Remember, legitimate organisations will never pressure you into making a transaction on the spot.
Seek advice first: Speak with a trusted friend or family members, and seek independent professional advice before making significant financial decisions.
FCA register: Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) register to check if the company is regulated by the FCA. If you deal with a firm (or individual) that isn’t regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if things go wrong and you lose your money. For more information about how to invest safely, please visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart
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