Instagram fraud costs £3m

Instagram fraud costs £3m

Action Fraud has warned Instagram users of an increasing number of fraudulent investment schemes being advertised on the app.

Since October 2018 356 reports of fraud facilitated over the social media site were made to Action Fraud, with victims losing more than £3m - an average of £8,900 per person. 

Investment schemes are being advertised on the app which promise victims a high return within 24 hours, after first requesting an initial £600 investment.

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Action Fraud warned victims of the scheme were making payments to the fraudster’s bank account and then receiving screenshots of thousands in "profit" crediting their accounts, which they were told could be released for a fee.

Action Fraud said when victims requested to withdraw their funds when still in profit, the fraudsters stopped all contact and closed the Instagram account.

The anti-fraud and cyber crime unit, run by the City of London Police, warned young people aged between 20 and 30 were the most likely to fall victim.

Inspector Paul Carroll, of Action Fraud, said: "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 our recommended simple steps below to make sure you don’t fall victim to this fraud."

He said anyone who thinks they may have fallen victim to this scheme should contact Action Fraud.

Action Fraud advised requests to transfer money from unfamiliar accounts should always "raise a red flag" and users should never immediately agree to an offer which involves advance payment or having to sign a contract on the spot.