Crypto fraud on social media
You may have seen them on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube: advertisements touting highly lucrative investments, often in cryptocurrencies. A small deposit of 100 euros can earn you thousands of euros, it is promised. But if it sounds too good to be true...
Some victims speak out
It starts with small amounts to lure people in
Investment scams are not a new form of fraud. Targets are usually investors who have a lot of money to invest. But since the beginning of this year, we have seen a different victim profile. The people losing money now due to investment fraud are small investors and people who have never invested before.
It often starts with an appealing ad on YouTube or Instagram, for example showing someone driving an expensive sports car. Sometimes scammers also use the names of famous people, such as Bill Gates or Romelu Lukaku, without their knowledge or consent.
Clicking on the link in the ad takes you to a professional website. Here, you will be convinced that you can earn thousands of euros with a small financial investment. The website also features many fake testimonials from people who have made money through this platform.
People who get sucked in receive reports showing high profits. So why not invest even more? And sometimes people then go further than they intended. Unfortunately, these reports are fake. The money is not invested and people never see their money again.
Fraudsters pose as investment advisers and contact you by phone, email or Whatsapp. They often use very aggressive sales techniques to persuade you: for instance, they will keep contacting and manipulating you until you 'invest' your money.
Some fraudsters also contact their victims after the fraud. They then pose as an authority (e.g. Europol, FCA) and promise to return your lost money in exchange for a fee.
If it's too good to be true...
If you read this article, it may be clear that these are scams. Yet banks are getting more calls from victims every day. Investments with high profits without risk do not exist. And they are not promoted on social media either.
Help to help other people
ING is doing a lot to make customers aware of this type of scam. But you too can do your bit to help potential victims.
- First, by reporting fake ads on social media platforms.
- Second, by creating awareness. We see more and more young people under 30 becoming victims. Anyone can fall victim to investment fraud.
It is important to realise that scammers are professionals, and they are very well organised. They live off the money they steal. We must all be committed to fighting fraud, at every level.
Protect yourself with these tips
1. Non-stop calling
When they keep contacting you and trying to persuade you like this, be sure to be vigilant.
2. Too good to be true
Beware of promises of excessive profits. Remain critical and always ask for clear and understandable information from the other party. If a return seems too good to be true to you, it usually is. Profit is never guaranteed.
3. It doesn't feel right
When something makes you feel suspicious, always ask the opinions of those around you.
4. Check the other party
Always check the identity of the company (identity details, country of incorporation, etc.). Be wary if the company or its website has not been around for long. Via the site of FSMA you can look up whether the other party is known for fraud. Can't find reliable data? Then don't get involved.
Victim. Now what?
- If you think you may be the victim of fraud, you must file a police report at your local police station as soon as possible. Call your bank on +32 2 464 60 03 or send an email to: email@example.com .
- If you have even the slightest doubt, you can get in touch with the FSMA (the Financial Services and Markets Authority) via the contact form for consumers on its website.
- You will find more information about investment fraud on: https://fsma.be/