Scams  

City of London police warns against social media investment fraud

City of London police warns against social media investment fraud
 

The City of London police has warned investors of the perils of ‘get rich quick’ scams after the amount lost to investment fraud rose by 50 per cent last year.

Some £891mn was lost to scammers in the 2021/22 financial year, nearly double the £596mn lost the year before, according to data from the City of London Police.

There were just over 26,000 reports of investment fraud in that period, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, meaning that each individual lost an average of £34,000.

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The data shows that young professionals are the most likely victims of this kind of fraud, with 40 per cent of all victims of investment fraud between the ages of 20 to 39.

The central London police force, which is the national lead force for fraud, said in many cases, victims will be duped out of their money after seeing an influencer advertise a scam on social media.

After clicking on these ads, victims will either pay for the investment on fake or cloned websites, or their personal and banking details will be obtained by the criminals.

Detective Chief Inspector Suzanne Ferris, City of London Police, said investment fraud is “rife” and destroys individuals and families.

“With the cost of living crisis now at the forefront of everyone’s minds, there is the potential that more people will fall victim to this devastating type of fraud as they try to find a way to get quick financial returns to help pay the bills.

“While criminals are now using social media to target people with fake investment opportunities, the ‘typical’ cold calling tactics haven’t gone away, so we must not be complacent and remain alert to these types of approach.”

The City of London police has begun a two-week long national campaign to raise awareness of the signs of investment fraud.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said: “While people across the country are feeling pressure on their finances, the false promises of ‘get rich quick’ schemes can leave a devastating toll on lives and livelihoods."

sally.hickey@ft.com