Instagram users are being warned about fraudulent investment posts offering “get rich quick” schemes which have cost users over £3 million.
Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, says there has been an increase in the number of investment schemes being advertised on Instagram over recent months, with young people aged between 20 and 30 most at risk.
It says there have been 356 reports since October, with victims each losing an average of £8,900.
How the scam works
Fraudsters are advertising “get rich quick” investment schemes on the app, promising a high return within 24 hours following an initial £600 investment.
Once the victims make payments via bank transfer to the fraudster’s bank account they are sent a screen shot showing their account thousands of pounds in credit with the profits they have made.
However, when the victims request to withdraw funds from the account the fraudsters stop contact and close the account.
Inspector Paul Carroll of Action Fraud says: “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.”
How to protect yourself
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. Contact the preferred company directly and reject any offers made through unsolicited communications.
If you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime you can report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.