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I had a friend tell me that she gave this girl on Instagram $1,000 and she turned it into $25,000 in minutes. She apparently does some sort of crypto/stock investing. She was told she has to pay a $3,000 transfer fee to get the money out, which is a percentage of the amount that is needing to be transferred. She sent me a picture of a pending $25,000 deposit in her cash app. Does this sound like a scam and is it even possible? Apparently one of her friends got her money out today and it worked for her? Seems kind of too good to be true.

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    Are you kidding? This sounds so much like a scam it could be used as the example in the dictionary under the word scam. The only way anyone would fall for this if their own greed clouded their ability to think clearly. There are a hundred ways this scam could work and explanations why this supposed other person "got money out". (hint: they didn't)
    – JohnFx
    Jan 1 at 2:24
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    New Year, Old Scam... I hope you keep your money and do something useful with it. Happy New Year. Jan 1 at 9:00
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    "She sent me a picture of a pending $25,000 deposit in her cash app." To give you an idea of how easy this is, imgur.com/a/P8SJYIN took me about 15 seconds to make.
    – ceejayoz
    Jan 1 at 16:22
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    What kind of friend is this? Have you actually spent actual face to face time with this friend in the real world, or is this an "internet friend"? The scam is obvious: they take $1000 of your money, then show you fake screens showing you now have $25,000 *but only in their 'special bank' that you can't actually get money out of... they then take $3000 more to get the money out, then no money ever arrives and you're down $4000. It's also typical in confidence scams to make excuses to keep asking for larger and larger amounts of money, and 2-3x is the typical multiplier. Jan 1 at 21:15
  • If everybody could turn $1,000 into $25,000 in ten minutes, wouldn't the world's finance system collapse, or money become worthless, or something? Jan 2 at 10:38

5 Answers 5

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This is a scam. If this person had the ability to turn $1000 into $25000 on a whim, they certainly wouldn't need any money from you. Either your friend is being scammed or your friend is a scammer.

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Easy! Get six people to send you a thousand dollars. Then get them each to send another three thousand. $24,000 easy as pie.

By the way, the person that it “worked for” in the original story is either completely fictitious or in on the scam. Almost certainly the first.

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Everyone who solicits money from you, asking to turn it into lots more money later, is a scammer at one level or another. The more extreme the claim, the more scammy it is.

Because exactly as Shawaron says, when somebody sees an investment opportunity that good, they keep it to themselves or "in-house". Most people who would even see such an opportunity are professional investment bankers, and they have a firm who employs them or personal connections to quality investors. They are not going to solicit on Instragram, for Pete's sake*.

The same rule applies to "more seemingly legit" matters.

  • When you see a Web ad saying "The Fotley Mool gives a rare "all in" recommendation", they're trying to sell an expensive investor newsletter (with a fatal flaw, see end).
  • Most "financial advisors" in the US (who mysteriously work "for free") want to sell you expensive investment products that reward them a large sales commissions. These are not very good investments, and you'd do much better in other investments.

Actual investment that works is super boring. John Bogle got sick of working in an industry basically tuned to giving consumers 20% gains in a market that actually gained 30%, and 15% losses when the market only lost 10% (and profiteering off the difference). Bogle wrote a book called "Common Sense in Mutual Funds" which does just that about reliable ways to invest. When you look at how small college endowments are invested, it's approximately that way. But like I say, this advice is "super boring" and basically says DON'T try to pick stocks because that does not work, and focus on reducing overhead expenses.

If I were king, everyone would be required to learn and understand actual proper investing. Then, they would be wise to obvious scams like the one you report.

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It's called a Pig Butchering Scam.

One of the most convincing versions has her claiming she's busy and asking you to login to some sort of live chat with an employee of the broker she uses. She's given you her account password and the employee tells you how to place the trades for her. Every trade is amazingly successful.

If you don't ask her how to get in on the action yourself, she'll encourage you.

Once you've deposited, you too will get amazing trading advice. Everything will be perfect and you can make money even faster if you deposit more (and more). It's all super-profitable until you want to withdraw. Then the surprise taxes and fees will show up. She loves you so much that she'll even offer to cover half of the next payment if you act like you're about to give up on getting your money.

She and the account manager are having pork for dinner. You've been butchered.

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She apparently some sort of crypto/stock investing

What kind of crypto/stock trading? Personally, I'd never make any kind of investment decision based on such a vague description; any legitimate opportunity will give you much more details about the actual opportunity.

Secondly, if it was really possible to make a $24,000 profit on a $1000 initial investment in a few minutes, why wouldn't everyone be doing it? The markets are generally pretty efficient, so this kind of opportunity generally doesn't last that long.

Finally, if she really can make those kinds of profits, why wouldn't she just do this with her own money? Why does she need your money? Why would she bother arranging a transaction that results in a $3,000 profit for her when she could've made another $24,000 profit in the same amount of time?

Large profits typically require months or years of investing, not minutes, and often require far more than $1000 initial investment.

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