Wednesday 13 February 2019 12:19 pm

'Trusting' millennials fall victim to Facebook and Instagram fraudsters

Fraudsters are using Facebook and Instagram to target millennials who are “overly trusting” of social media.

Organised criminals are using social media platforms to scam younger people aged under 30 out of money at an increasing frequency, UK Finance chief executive Stephen Jones told MPs today.

Read more: Former digital minister joins calls for Facebook regulation

He said the trade association and banks had widened their definition of “vulnerable” customers and said those assumed to be digitally-savvy were being caught out.

The Treasury Select Committee quizzed Jones, as well as Santander UK’s head of retail banking Susan Allen and Nationwide’s chief product officer Chris Rhodes, on the ongoing fight against financial crime.

Allen also said a rise in students being used as “money mules” – allowing their accounts to be accessed to move around illegal funds – was a big issue, causing Santander to close around 900 accounts each month.

“We worked with Facebook around adverts that had appeared saying that people could get up to £1,200 by allowing their account to be used – those adverts have now been taken down.”

UK Finance boss Jones also said that social media advertising offering “money for nothing” was being used to coax students into the world of money laundering.

Rhodes said the issue was also on Nationwide’s radar and that it closes around 6,000 accounts suspected of being used by money mules each year.

The trio agreed that the education of young people around financial fraud was key to tackling the problem.

Allen added that research conducted by the bank showed that 85 per cent of 18-25-year-olds had shared information on social media that made them vulnerable to scams.

Read more: Social media firms face fines under Labour crackdown

“We think this is a population that’s very digitally-savvy but actually it’s a population that we need to educate and work with,” Allen added.