Barclays has issued an important warning to its customers who are at risk of losing thousands of pounds.

The bank is warning customers of investment scams, which made up a third of all money lost to scammers in 2023.

This spike is being fuelled by scammers taking advantage of their ability to promote unverified financial adverts on social media sites; more than 6 in 10 investment scams now take place on these platforms.

The average victim of investment scams last year lost more than £14,000, more than five times more than the overall average scam victim.

Glasgow Times:

A common trick that scammers will play is to get their victims to invest a small amount at the start – this then seemingly returns high rewards, which the scammers pay out from other victims’ money.

This often convinces the victim that the investment is legitimate and in-turn leads to larger amounts being lost to the scammers, often over a long period of time.

Stephanie Mac Sweeney, Head of Fraud Strategy at Barclays said: “It’s worrying to see such a rise in investment scams – with victims often heartlessly scammed out of large sums of money that they have been saving for their future.

“The banking industry works hard to educate, identify and intercept scams, but the only way to drive real change is to target these scams at their source.

“With the majority of investment scams now taking place on their platforms, social media firms must take responsibility, act on their promises and deliver a robust verification system to protect innocent people from falling prey to fraudulent investment adverts.”

This is how to spot an investment scam:


Social media thrives on human impulse and scammers often create a false sense of urgency. It’s important to pause and reflect before committing to any investments.


If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is – particularly in the case of investments advertised on social media. Speak to a qualified financial advisor or family member to get a second opinion. Be wary of taking investment recommendations from a friend without doing your own research – whilst they may mean well, it’s important to make sure both you and your friend aren’t at risk of falling victim to a scam.


To test if an investment opportunity is genuine, check to see if the person or organisation contacting you is FCA authorised via the Financial Services Register or the FCA’s ScamSmart Investment Checker. Do your own research and look for unbiased reviews of the potential opportunity you’re considering.