INSTAGRAM users are being warned of fraudulent investment schemes circulating on the social media platform.

Cumbria County Council is urging people who use the popular app to be aware of the scam after 164 reports in June led to victims losing a total of almost £360,000.

The authority shared a warning on Facebook as Action Fraud continues to receive reports.

Action Fraud said that while individual financial losses are small, compared to other types of fraudulent investment schemes, it is targetting a younger demographic, aged between 20 and 30, who could be financially vulnerable and searching for a quick and easy way to make money.

The scheme, commonly referred to as a money flipping service, sees fraudsters approach victims using the instant messaging feature after advertising their service. They ask for a few hundred pounds and say they will use this to trade on the stock market until they have multiplied the investment by several times as much.

But once the initial investment has been transferred, the victim is given excuses before being blocked with no way of retrieving the money they sent.