Instagram users become victims of fake investment campaign

Multiple victims, mostly young people between the ages of 18 and 25, are invited to invest through an ad in the app; then the scammers disappear

British authorities report an increase in the activity of some online criminal groups, especially those that claim to increase investments in a short time. In this case, according to network security and ethical hacking specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security, victims receive promises of high returns after only 24 hours, but criminals take the money to disappear shortly thereafter.

Over the past 5 months, the British authorities have received more than 300 allegations about this type of fraud, and the losses accumulate over £3M, without considering the victims who have not filed allegations.

According to experts in network security, the scam starts with an ad in the Instagram app. In this, victims are invited to transfer various amounts (£600 on average), promising gains almost automatic. When the victims send the money to scammers, they receive back screenshots with their supposed profits piling up in a bank account.

Later the attackers incite the victims to increase their investment, also mentioning that their earnings can be released paying a fee, so that a single victim could lose thousands of pounds.

Then worst part comes later: scammers close their Instagram accounts, stop contacting the victims and disappear taking the money with them.

According to experts in network security, scammers resort to the use of professional-looking images, and can also promise special discounts in some stores, investment tips in “secret stocks”, among other information related to the stock market.

According to a cybersecurity firm, there are more than two million potentially fraudulent Instagram posts, fraud dubbed by the UK government as ‘money-flipping’. Action Fraud, an office of fraud awareness in British territory, mentioned in a report: “Criminals will always try to take advantage of social networks, because they have become part of the daily life of people”.

Action fraud insists that money should never be sent to strangers online, and also invites users to report any potentially fraudulent publication to the competent authorities.