Fraudsters are able to operate with impunity on social media networks like Instagram and Snapchat, scamming users and running little risk of being caught, a Sky News investigation has found.
Police and anti-fraud groups are also warning that a too-trusting Instagram generation is falling victim to get-rich-quick scams, worth many millions of pounds a year to criminals. Figures obtained by Sky News show under 25s are six times more likely to fall victim to criminals using social media platforms than over 50s.
Paul Bischoff, Privacy Advocate at Comparitech:
“These are old scams applied to a new medium. By tricking people into giving up bank account information under the guise of a get-rich-quick scheme, criminals can launder money they’ve made through other illicit transactions. People under 25 are more susceptible because they engage with social media more than their older counterparts but might be less aware of the telltale signs of scams and are, broadly speaking, more desperate for money. Money mule scams can be easily avoided just like most other online scams by following a few simple rules. Never share private information over social media. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. A legitimate company will never use your bank account to transfer or hold funds.
It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t necessarily have to give up an account number and password to be a money mule victim. Some scams might ask that you send a photo of yourself holding a piece of ID, or just scans of a couple pieces of ID like a driver’s license and passport. These documents can be used to open new accounts at some banks, payment apps, money wire services, and cryptocurrency exchanges. The account is opened up in the victim’s name and then used to launder money without their knowledge. This is known as a “bank drop” or “money drop” scam. It’s also used to reap the signup rewards offered by many financial businesses.”