Between October 2018 and February 2019, 356 reports were made to Action Fraud. It said the total loss reported to it was £3,168,464 – an average of around £8,900 per person.
Action Fraud said young people aged between 20 and 30 are particularly likely to be susceptible. It said fraudsters are advertising investment schemes which promise a high return within 24 hours.
Victims make payments via bank transfer to the fraudster’s bank account. Fraudsters then send screenshots of profits, which they claim can be released for a fee.
Victims request to withdraw their funds – but the fraudsters stop contact with the victim and close the Instagram account.
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 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.”
Action Fraud’s top tips to stay safe when scrolling
– Never respond to any requests to send money, or have money transferred into your account by someone you do not know and trust. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it.
– Do not 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 (FCA) website. Reject any offers made through unsolicited communications.
– If you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it to Action Fraud.