‘I couldn’t breathe’ Mum loses £1240 in investment scam ‘recommended’ by friends

Rip Off Britain: Woman's Instagram is hijacked as part of scam

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Nicole Reeves had her Instagram hijacked by scammers who then went on to steal thousands of pounds from other victims. The mum told the programme how she fell for the scam because she believed it was an opportunity recommended by friends.

“How he’d got a massive kind of financial investment, how he’d gained a lot of money and how he was very happy and it turned his life around.”

Her friend said the Money Flip exploited fluctuations in the global currency market and his initial investment of £500 had soon become £5,000.

Nicole explained: “I was financially struggling and it was really hard.

“You know, it was just almost like an answer that I was praying for and it was my friend.

“I wouldn’t have looked twice if it was someone I didn’t know.”

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She messaged her friend to ask him more about the opportunity and he replied that it was legitimate.

He told her to message someone called Shanny Powell but before she did she checked out the profile which included glowing endorsements of Money Flip.

There are more than one Instagram accounts under the name of Shanny Powell – but whereas some are authentic – this particular one wasn’t.

Nicole added: “I just thought ‘wow it’s got to be real’ – these videos go back a couple of years.”

Initially, Nicole was encouraged to invest £500 before then being told the great news that she had been chosen to win £20,000 but she’d need to put in another £740.

Then she was asked to record a video endorsing the money flip process just like her friend had.

Nicole was then asked to provide her Apple ID, password and one time passcode before the funds could be released.

Once she’d handed those details over, everything changed.

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Nicole said: “I can remember having my phone in my hand and in front of my eyes I was being logged out of Instagram I was being locked out of my Apple ID.

“PayPal messages were coming up saying there’s been a data breach and I couldn’t access anything on my phone.

“I started to have a complete panic attack – I couldn’t breathe.”

The young mum then had to watch from the sidelines as hackers posted the video she had recorded on her social media accounts to promote the money flip to her friends and family.

Unfortunately, Nicole is not the only victim of social media scams which are increasingly targeting younger victims.

Thousands of people like Nicole have lost huge amounts of money to this very same scam that tricks people into thinking they are acting on a friend’s recommendation.

Rip Off Britain contacted Instagram who said its parent company Meta has donated £3million to Citizen’s Advice to help them set up a UK anti-online scams initiative.

It went on to say it’s against its policies to “promote or facilitate investment or financial scams which promise high rates or returns.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Instagram for further comment.

Rip Off Britain continues weekdays at 9.15am on BBC One.

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