Almost £900m has been lost to investment fraud in the past year, as police warn about the rise in the use of social media for bogus schemes.
The lure of so-called ‘get rich quick’ initiatives have become “rife” during the cost of living crisis, as millions look for fix to their finanical woes.
In a warning by the City of London Police today, it was announced investment fraud in the last year rose 49.5 per cent.
The increase from £596m to £890m was accompanied by data from National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), who recorded more than 26,000 reports to Action Fraud, with victims losing on average almost £35,000 each. This represents an increase of 15/2 per cent from the previous year, with young professionals being the most likely victim.
Almost 40 per cent of victims of investment from were between 20-39, with social media influencers being a key driver of the scam.
According to the City police, victims views ads on social media and make payments to fake or cloned sites, with their personal and payment details taken by criminals through deception. Some obtain the information through remote access, while others do so over the phone.
They also sounded a warning about false investments into cryptocurrency, with Bitcoin being the most prominent one used for the schemes.
“Investment fraud is rife and it destroys individuals and families.”Suzanne Ferris from the City of London police
Detective chief inspector Suzanne Ferris from the City of London Police. said: “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, which is, the national lead force for fraud, said urged people to “take time to do your research thoroughly before deciding to invest any amount of money.”
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”.