Social media users report losing 75m to financial scams in one year
Social media users caught in financial scams lost nearly £75 million to fraudsters in the space of a year, figures suggest.
Data obtained from Action Fraud under the Freedom of Information Act by the Good Money Guide website showed users of six popular sites made 3,597 reports of scams in 2022.
– Facebook with 1,193 reports made and a total £32.6m losses claimed
– Instagram with 1,857 reports and £13m total losses
– YouTube was mentioned in 231 cases with a total of £10m
– LinkedIn 109 reports and £8.4m
– TikTok 50 and £6.9m
– X formerly called Twitter 157 and £3.6m.
The total losses were more than double those reported across the same sites in 2021, when £31.5m was reported as stolen in 2,852 fraud claims, and up from £14.5m in 2020 across 1,828 cases.
Action Fraud is a self-reporting site and therefore the claims have not necessarily been verified by law enforcement.
The biggest single loss reported among the claims in 2022 was £4 million. In 2021 this was £700,000.
Reports were made on behalf of 24 children aged nine and under, and 593 children and teenagers aged 10 to 19. There were 210 involving users aged 70 to 99.
Good Money Guide founder Richard Berry said: “It’s easy to stumble across social media posts offering an investment opportunity that seems too good to be true, and in 99% of cases, that’s exactly what it is.
“It’s staggering to think that in just one year UK consumers have lost £75 million to financial scams and fraudsters on social media.
“It’s time that the platforms took a long hard look at the material they’re allowing online, as too often they are being used as a hunting ground by scammers preying on the unwary.
“The criminals often go to great lengths to make their scams look credible – sometimes even ‘cloning’ legitimate investment platforms.
“These will typically look almost identical to the real thing, apart from a small difference in the URL. Needless to say when unsuspecting investors deposit funds into one of these fake websites, they never see them again.
“Something is going seriously wrong if children under 10 can be conned by these despicable money-grabbing scammers.
“If you’re looking to invest, make sure you’re dealing with a trustworthy, FCA-regulated company and do plenty of careful research before you take the plunge.
“There is never an urgency to investing, and if you feel under any pressure, or if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub