For the past week Instagram has been pummeling me with ads in which well known rich people, investors, and financial geniuses invite me to private groups to get investment tips. Images of billionaire Bill Ackman, CNBC personality Jim Cramer, the CEO of Ark Invest Cathie Wood, and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon appear in my feed after every other post.
“Hello, I am Cathie Wood, the founder of Ark Investments,” the text of the ad said, before explaining that Ark Invest’s innovation ETFs outperformed other funds with “a return of up to 165% over the past three years. I have helped many ordinary people accumulate significant wealth!”
As you might have guessed by now, Cathie Wood is not really seeking random investors with low effort Instagram ads. The ad is actually part of a network of fake Instagram profiles that, by promising valuable investment advice and huge returns, funnels users to groups on WhatsApp, which is also owned by Meta. These groups then ask users to share their Cash App accounts or investment accounts, and make certain buys or transfers.