“I was following this guy on Instagram and he always posts his car, a golden Maserati, saying that he is rich and that got rich alone and he is very young, he is only 21 “, says Jonathan Reuben, 24, an accountant. He discovered a scheme of investment in foreign currencies through an Instagram account.
“First I invested a thousand pounds (R $ 7.49 thousand) and, after I saw that I was making money, I deposited a little more and more. In the end, I lost 17 thousand pounds (R $ 127.3 thousand)”, he told the BBC’s Money Box program.
Jonathan is one of an increasing number of Instagram users who have lost money on alleged social network fraud.
Since the covid-19 pandemic began last year, the average number of Instagram fraud reports reported every month has grown by more than 50%, according to data from Action Fraud, the UK’s national police center for crime and cyber fraud.
There was also an increase in the value that users say they lost in these hits. Before the pandemic, the average value was 60 thousand pounds (R $ 449 thousand) per month, but now it has risen to 200 thousand (R $ 1.5 million) per month.
Jonathan said that the alleged scammer, Gurvin Singh, a man from Plymouth, in southwest England, says he got rich by investing in foreign exchange transactions.
Singh then offered users who followed him on Instagram the chance to accompany him in his transactions.
“He said that every deal he made would be replicated in my account when I joined.”
Jonathan said Singh promised profits almost immediate. Jonathan then had access to an investment platform called Infinox, where he could analyze his performance.
At first, profits increased, and he invested more money. But he started to suspect after a few months, when he saw his investments plummet in two days.
“I tried to withdraw the money, but the system said that the operation had failed. I asked for an explanation, and their excuse was that the profits were because of Brexit (withdrawal from the UK from the European Union). After a few days, all my money had missing and I was no longer able to contact Gurvin or anyone else involved, “said Jonathan.” I filed a complaint with the police, my banks and Instagram. “
‘People get sucked’
Jake Moore, a cybersecurity expert, says that with many young people participating in social media, scams like this have become more common.
“People are sucked and they want to believe it, they want this lifestyle, especially nowadays, when young people have trouble finding jobs,” he said. “There are definitely more people looking for new and different ways to make more money.”
“There are billions of social media accounts, and the algorithms are not yet sophisticated enough, we can’t delegate that control to computers. Business social media have a long way to go. “
He suggests to social media users that they never involve money when dealing with strangers.
“There are accounts that offer wonderful schemes to double, triple or quadruple your money. These are scams,” he said.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, says it proactively combats this type of content with spam detection technologies and is investigating Singh’s account.
“There is no room for fraudulent or unauthorized behavior on Instagram. We have a security team of 35,000 people working to keep our platforms secure, and we block millions of accounts every day, “said a Facebook spokesman.
The Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates financial markets in the UK, said Singh was added to a list of financial agents on authorized.
The agency recommended that investors only deal with authorized financial companies.
The anti-fraud police office said it was investigating Singh’s activities, but that there was no inquiry.
Singh did not respond to requests for interview from BBC.
An Infinox spokesman, the platform used by Jonathan, rejected all suggestions that the company had acted without integrity or violated the rules. The spokesman did not want to comment on Singh’s activities because they have no connection with the services offered by Infinox.
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