Quickly exit this site by pressing the Escape key Leave this site
This site is a beta, which means it's a work in progress and we'll be adding more to it over the next few weeks. Your feedback helps us make things better, so please let us know what you think.
Officers at Northamptonshire Police are supporting a new national campaign aimed at raising awareness of ‘get rich quick’ schemes which target young professionals looking to boost their investments.
Colleagues from the City of London Police have launched Operation Broadway, which will run until the end of October, following a rise of investment frauds amongst young professionals, with more than £890 million lost to ‘get rich quick’ schemes last year.
In Northamptonshire, there has been 188 reports of investment fraud between January and August this year, resulting in the loss of £3.87 million, compared to 174 and 90 victims for the same period in 2021 and 2020, in which £4.5 million and £2.55 million losses were recorded respectively.
This has prompted the county’s Economic Crime Unit to remind the public to be vigilant when it comes to any type of fraud as criminals are evolving the way that they target people, with many victims now being targeted on social media.
In fact, new data shows that young professional people are the most likely targets with a total of 39 per cent of all victims of investment fraud aged between 20 to 39 years old. Whilst those aged 40 to 49 years old were the third highest age demographic (16 per cent).
In many cases, victims have seen an influencer advertise an investment scam on social media. The suspects behind the fraud use influencers with a high number of followers to endorse their advert and reach a larger audience quickly and cheaply.
Upon seeing the advert, victims either make authorised push payments on fake or cloned websites, or their personal and banking credentials are obtained by criminals through social engineering techniques, such as remote access tools or over the phone.
Along with an increase in the number of victims lured into false investments via social media, investments into cryptocurrency have also increased over the last two years, with Bitcoin the most reported currency.
Detective Sergeant Andrea Taylor of Northamptonshire Police’s Serious & Complex Economic Crime Unit said: “Investment fraud destroys individuals and families, and is prevalent across the UK, and the number of victims in this county continues to rise.
“With the cost-of-living crisis now at the forefront of everyone’s minds, there is the potential that more people will fall victim to this devastating type of fraud as they try to find a way to get quick financial returns to help pay the bills.
“While criminals are now using social media to target people with fake investment opportunities, the ‘typical’ cold calling tactics haven’t gone away, so we must not be complacent and remain alert to these types of approach.
“If you’re contacted by anyone not known to you and unexpectedly asking you to invest or to send them money, you should treat it with caution. Don’t be pushed or rushed into anything you are not sure of and remember, if it is too good to be true, then it probably is!
“Always be on your guard and take time to do your research thoroughly before deciding to invest any amount of money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Follow the Take Five to Stop Fraud advice as it will help protect you and your money.”
How to spot the signs and protect yourself
• Before deciding to invest, always do your research and do not let anyone rush you. Only criminals will put pressure on you to make a quick decision. Stop, take time to think and consult trusted friends and family members before parting with your money
• Be cautious if you are asked to change money into cryptocurrency to invest or make a payment via cryptocurrency. This is often a tactic used by fraudsters
• Be aware that some investment opportunity approaches can come via social media. Always undertake additional research to check the validity of such an opportunity
• Fraudsters have been known to hack social media accounts to promote bogus investments. If you are making an investment based on a recommendation from a friend or family member sent via social media, check that this has been sent by them
• Scammers will often create professional looking websites and utilise fake business premise locations to give an impression of legitimacy
• Never let anyone take control of your phone or computer for any reason. A reputable business would never do this
• Check on the FCA website to see if an investment business is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The City of London Police, National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud always urge people to follow the Take Five to Stop Fraud advice:
• STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe
• CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you
• PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud
If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, which is the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, online by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling on 0300 123 2040.
It’s also important to report all fraud-related incidents to Action Fraud to help build a national picture and help prevent others falling victim to scams.