Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn have become ideal channels for spreading false investment offers, such as offers of cryptocurrencies, binary options and forex products/CFDs, “investment wines”, portfolio management offers or credit offers.
These fraudulent offers are spread on social media primarily via sponsored ads on Facebook and Instagram, simple Facebook posts, fake press articles or via direct messaging between the fraudster and the victim.
Do you suspect that the offer being made to you may be fraudulent?
Have you been the victim of investment or credit fraud and you don’t know what to do?
If so, please contact the FSMA directly.
Don’t fall into the trap, follow our recommendations!
Beware of sponsored links on Facebook and Instagram.Unlike ordinary posts, which do not always catch the eye in news feeds, sponsored posts pop up based on age, gender or areas of interest and based on the pages viewed by the person or audience targeted.
Victims of investment fraud often report being contacted by phone after having clicked on an advertisement on Facebook or Instagram promoting ‘very profitable’ investments. These ads show up in the spaces set aside for advertising or in the news feed of the user concerned. They are often illustrated with an image or video, and accompanied by fake comments and automatically generated likes. The message disseminated looks intriguing but remains extremely vague.
Quite often, the pages containing those sponsored ads were conceived specifically for such advertising campaign. They appear under a variety of names, more or less connected to the financial world. Nevertheless, they hardly ever mention a telephone number, website, address or company name.
Be wary of Facebook posts which promise disproportionate returns.Certain fraudulent offers, mostly in relation to credit, are simply distributed by fraudsters through advertisements on Facebook groups specialized in, for example, the sale or purchase of real estate or of second-hand goods, and that are made up mainly of Belgian consumers.
Be sceptical of fake news articles with alleged ‘statements’ and/or ‘interviews’ of public figures praising investments with returns that sound too good to be true.These articles circulate on fake news sites as well as on Facebook via sponsored advertisements. The purpose of this practice is to gain your confidence by using images of well-known individuals in the media, sports or business world. The fraudsters try in this way to get you to invest in their offers of lucrative investments that are too good to be true.
Beware of direct messaging with strangers on social media.Fraudsters also use social media to contact their victims in person, either by sending them a ‘friend request’ or by sending them a direct message via Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn’s instant messaging.
When swindlers initiate a conversation with a new victim, they do not try to offer an investment immediately. On the contrary, they first try to establish a relationship of confidence, as is the case with friendship fraud. Often it’s only after several hours, weeks or even months of conversation that the swindlers mention an ‘investment offer not to be missed’.
Some swindlers also create fake accounts using the identity and photos of people who are very active on social media. This practice is particularly widespread on Instagram.
Lastly, be wary of (promises of) disproportionate returns.If a return seems too good to be true, it usually is.