Action Fraud UK: Instagram users fell prey to scammers losing 3 million pounds

Action Fraud UK: Instagram users fell prey to scammers losing 3 million pounds

For the past 5 months alone Instagram users have lost 3 million pounds in a get-instantly-rich scam, reports Action Fraud, the British national fraud reporting service.

Action Fraud has recorded 356 scam cases since October, where victims have lost on average 8900 pounds. The agency notes that people in their 20s and 30s are particularly at risk.

Scammers are advertising their schemes on Instagram, promising high and easy returns within 24 hours after an initial investment of 600 pounds.

And after the payment is made via a bank transfer, scammers start sending their victims screenshots showing amazing “profits”, which however disappear the moment a withdraw request is made.

For 2018 alone the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK reported that British investors have lost to scammers more than 197 million GBP. The numbers are based on some 6759 complaints and data form Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting service. That means a scam victim has lost on average 29 000 GBP.

And once again the perpetrators were linked to unregulated, offshore companies running scam forex and crypto brokers. The FCA statistics shows that scams with forex, cryoto currencies, stocks and bonds amount to 85% of all frauds in the UK in 2018.

A similar statistics by Scamwatch, the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), reveals that for the first 10 months of 2018 alone Australians have lost to scammers more than 35,8 million USD.

Here, most scams were linked to fake investment schemes on the real estate market, the stock market or certain commodities. A growing portion of the scams, however, involved crypt currencies and binary options, which by the way are banned throughout Europe and some other regulated markets.

In a recent warning the French Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) advises potential investors that no advertising materials should make them overlook the fact that high returns always involve high risk.

AMF also warns that you should always try to learn as much as you can about the company or intermediary trying to sell you a product (authorization/certification, company history, location of head offices, etc.), to invest only in a product you understand, and to ask yourself the question how, and by whom, the purchase price or selling price of the advertised product is set, and find out the precise terms and timeline for selling the product, especially in cases where the product invests in an asset class with low liquidity.

To that the FCA in the UK adds that traders should always be suspicious of swift and unrealistic returns, which sound too good to be true – for instance much better interest rates or payouts than anywhere else.

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