Watch out for fake Facebook investment opportunities

Criminals are paying for ad slots on Facebook in a bid to con victims into investing in bogus schemes supposedly endorsed by well-known figures.

Love Money
Last updated: 22 June 2018 - 12.37pm

Facebook investments scams supposedly featuring money-savvy celebrities and business figures are catching people out, a fraud organisation has warned.

Figures revealed to The Sun Online show that 1,639 scams were reported to Action Fraud in 2017, the majority of which are related to online shopping.

Victims reportedly lose an average of £342 but there are 24 cases of British victims being scammed out of £10,000.

This is only based on what’s been sent to Action Fraud, so there could be many more victims out there.

Branson for Bitcoin?

Recently, Richard Branson’s face appeared on a fake get-rich-quick bitcoin advert. People who clicked on the ad were taken through to a fake CNN page, which then took them through to a scam site claiming users could win free Bitcoins.

Senior Conservative MP Damian Collins, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, criticised the advert.

He said: “Fake adverts displayed on social media platforms are a real problem, and one that the social media companies must tackle.”

Taking action

Last year, Facebook announced that it was hiring 3,000 extra members of staff to make sure that it can respond to reports of misleading ads more quickly.

The social media giant’s guidelines state that adverts must not be “deceptive, false or misleading” but users are still seeing and reporting scams in their newsfeeds.

All you need is a Facebook page and a credit card to promote a post in people’s newsfeeds and are given specific criteria for the type of user they want to target. 

Facebook leaves it up to users to report posts that are false, malicious or distasteful but, alongside Google and Twitter, has come under pressure to review how paid ads are bought and promoted.

How to stay safe

Be especially wary of investment ‘opportunities’ that you see on social media – just because it has a famous face on it, doesn’t mean that it has been endorsed by them. It’s very easy to use pictures of well-known personalities without their permission.

Do some research online to see if the claims are backed up in numerous reputable sources.

If you do happen to see a dodgy ad, take a screenshot of it and report it to Facebook using this form. You should also let Action Fraud know by ringing 0300 123 2040 or using its online reporting tool.   

Think you might have fallen victim to a scam? Check your credit report for anything suspicious.

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