Social media-based investment fraud on the rise

The rise of social media has had so many benefits and some serious pitfalls, especially when it comes to investment fraud.

Action Fraud has reported that investment fraud via social media has resulted in the loss of over £63 million in 2020-21, with 5,039 reports of fraudulent activity. This means hundreds of people fall victim to callous scams every week on popular apps like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Since social media fraud is so common these days, let’s look at some of the most common signs of scam to watch out for.

Unrealistic monetary benefits and returns

There are risks with any investment, and if expected returns are high, there will of course, be higher risk. So, if it sounds too good to be true — well, it probably is.

Affinity fraud

This is a popular tactic on social media. Because people use social platforms to connect with people with similar backgrounds and interests, fraudsters can use that sense of similarity to hook you and build trust. They may also target your friends’ list, which can lead to your friends and family members becoming victims.

Unsolicited

Any investment opportunity that comes to you from someone you don’t know shouldn’t be taken very seriously. If you didn’t ask for investment information, that’s a good sign that the person is not legit. Make sure you do research before divulging any personal information.

Pressure to buy

A tactic of many fraudsters is to put pressure on social media users with the promise of a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity that is ‘time-limited’. This is an obvious sign that it may be a scam. Scammers will always want you to make decisions quickly, so there’s less chance of you working out it’s not real and backing out.

It’s easy for scam artists to create fake websites and use false, flashy pop-up social ads to hook users into sending their money or bank details. If you’re unsure if a company is genuine, make sure you check the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) register online.

If you think you may have been a victim of social media fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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