Social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are accessible, interactive mediums where dialogue can take place and information shared. These tools can provide benefits for investors looking for information about investing, but it can also provide opportunities for fraudsters looking to promote an investment scheme.
Using social media, fraudsters can contact many different people at a relatively low cost – they can create fake accounts, e-mail addresses, and link their posts to a website, videos, or photos that make the investment look legitimate.
The potential of anonymity on social media can also make it difficult to identify or find fraudsters using this medium to promote a scheme.
If a scheme catches on in social media, people who think the investment is legitimate may encourage others in their network to invest. This can result in many friends, family members, and colleagues investing in and then promoting an unsuitable or fraudulent investment. If the investment fails or is fraudulent, money is lost and personal relationships affected.
What can investors do to protect themselves on social media?
- Be wary of unsolicited offers to invest.
- Look out for the investment warning signs. If it is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be wary of investment offers that your friends and family are talking about or promoting on social media.
- Be meticulous about privacy, passwords, and security settings.
- Ask questions and research all information about the investment and the people promoting it.