Sci & Tech
A woman who became the target of a 'get rich quick' scam on Instagram was told 'her money would triple in just a few days'
A woman who became the target of a 'get rich quick' scam on Instagram was told 'her money would triple in just a few days' if she transferred over Sh13,050.
Lauren, 25, said she was approached on social media last November by a user called 'theyeartomakebigcash' who offered to make her 'easy money for Christmas'.
The young woman, who was a student at the time, received a direct message from the user offering the opportunity to ‘make a lot of money in a short space of time’ that would ‘help fund' her seasonal shopping.
They informed her that all she had to do was transfer Sh13,050 to them and that within a few days, the money would triple.
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Sceptical, Lauren said she ignored the messages - but that's when they started to bombard her.
In an attempt to change her mind, they told Lauren 'everyone' does it and that 'it would be financially beneficial' for her.
The criminals then followed up by asking 'why she wouldn't want to make money for doing nothing?'
"At that point, my account wasn't private," Lauren explained.
"Their messages got continually more pushy and threatening as they were trying to persuade me to transfer over Sh13,050.
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"I got messages like 'Hello?' 'Are you there?' which I found quite unsettling."
"I never responded and was hesitant about doing anything with the messages other than ignoring them.
"They did send over some links where they advised things like 'click to triple your money'.
"I felt uneasy and wary and as the messages kept coming. I went from feeling wary to harassed. I felt like they were trying to hound me until I gave in.
"They just continued to justify it by continuing to advise me of the ‘financial benefits’ it would give me. They said it's how ‘every successful person is making their money nowadays’."
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Lauren, whose account is now private, said the messages initially came through as a ‘request’ from a stranger.
Get rich quick
It's one of thousands of 'get rich quick' scams lurking on social media - and Brits are falling victim to them every single day.
In most cases, the criminal will approach the person online, promising high returns within 24 hours after an initial investment.
Once the payment is sent via bank transfer, the victims are sent screenshots showing huge “profits”, and encouraged to get their friends involved 'before it's too late'.
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But when requests are made to withdraw the funds, the fraudsters shut down the accounts and disappear.
In other cases, social media users are being told they can earn money by holding money in their account.
In these cases, they'll get a cut of the sale, which is in fact stolen money from an unsuspecting member of the public.
These people are essentially 'money mules' being used to transfer the proceeds of crime . Those who are caught face having their accounts blocked and even a criminal sentence.
Barclays bank has now issued a warning to young people in the run up to university season - when rogue recruiters will be out in full force.
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“We know criminal gangs are ruthlessly targeting cash-strapped students on campuses across the UK, with the aim of tricking them into laundering their dirty money," Ross Martin, head of digital safety at Barclays, said
“Worryingly, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of student money mules who unwittingly allow criminals to access their bank accounts, unaware that the money flowing in and out is often connected to serious crime. It is vital that all students are aware of the risks and can spot the warning signs when they think they are in danger.
"Providing young people with the necessary tools and knowledge can help prevent criminals from taking advantage of students in vulnerable financial situations.”