Beware the Ferrari-driving FX-trader on Instagram, UK regulator warns

  • TECH
  • Monday, 06 May 2019

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Instagram logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

A short video clip on the Molly Ramm Instagram account shows a young woman cruising down a sunbathed Dubai highway in a Lamborghini with the music blaring. She has a six-figure mindset, it says. But that may be changing.

In an unprecedented step against an Instagram influencer, the UK Financial Conduct Authority on May 2 warned people to “be especially wary of dealing” with the site, which is selling a financial product without the required authorisation from the regulator, according to a notice on its website. It didn’t take further action. No one responded to messages and calls to phone numbers listed on the social-media page, which was taken down May 3.

Ramm’s Instagram bio says she made it from Manchester to Dubai and turned £4,000 (RM21,749) into £200,000 (RM1.08mil). For her 12,600 followers to do the same, they need only click on a link and get in touch.

The supposed spoils are there for all to see: white jewel-studded Gucci sneakers, sushi by the pool, a hot air balloon launch in the desert, and a fizzing bottle of vintage 2003 Dom Perignon champagne with a caption in which she invites others to follow her path.

The offer is to trade forex signals, though it doesn’t explain what that means. “Minimum deposit of £200 (RM1,087) required,” it says, and you can earn £1,000 (RM5,437) per day. All you need is 10 minutes a day, she says. “I love my job!!” Another photo shows a pile of £50 notes.

“Trading is the dream,” Ramm posted next to another snap. “It takes time and patience but is worth every minute. Message me now to get started.”

The FCA did not accuse Ramm of being a fraudster, but police have noted an increase in the number of “get-rich-quick” investment scams that advertised on Instagram in recent months. Between October and February, there were 356 reports of fraud, mainly targeting people in their 20s, with the average person losing £8,900 (RM48,392), the City of London police’s Action Fraud team said in February on its website.

The modus operandi is to require an initial investment, with screenshots of a rapidly growing account being sent back to the investor, according to Action Fraud. But as soon as the customer wants to withdraw any funds, the fraudster cuts off contact and closes the Instagram account, it said.

“Opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of unsuspecting victims who are going about their day-to-day lives on social media,” inspector Paul Carroll said.

Beside each of Ramm’s photos and videos, she focuses on the business side. “The money and the travelling is just a buy [sic] product,” she says in one post from November. “Anyone can join the team, young or old. Experienced or new!”

She says she’s made so much money that she bought 10 properties in the first three months of the year.

“It’s crazy to think how much trading has changed my life,” she says. “In my spare time I now buy houses as a hobby and rent them out.”

As exotic as some of Ramm’s shots are, local pleasures crop up too. In one she shows two plates of full English breakfast, in another she’s steering a Ferrari into the parking lot of a Tesco supermarket. – Bloomberg

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