A ‘get rich quick’ Instagram trader Gurvin Singh scammed more than 1,000 investors by emptying their accounts on Christmas Eve in a suspected £3.5million fraud, it has been claimed.
Gurvin Singh, 20, is believed to have convinced as many as 1,250 people to join his ‘copy trading’ scheme with social media pictures of his jet-setting lifestyle.
Investors say he messaged them claiming he was an authorised Foreign Exchange (Forex) trader, promising guaranteed profits of up to £300 a day and that they could withdraw their money at any time.
But after a few months of healthy returns, alleged victims claim they saw their trading accounts plummet.
The medical student from Plymouth ‘made excuses about Brexit’ and said things would be back to normal by March.
But on Christmas Eve, hundreds say they saw their funds drop to zero and were unable to contact him.
Days beforehand Mr Singh posted pictures of himself on Instagram driving a Ferrari through the streets of Paris. He has since removed his page.
The alleged victims, mostly aged between 18 and 25, claim they have lost thousands of their family’s money, part-time wages and student loans.
Gurvin Singh is believed to have contacted hundreds of people on social media in the summer of 2019 claiming he was a FCA-registered Forex trader
Alleged victims claim there were five WhatsApp groups of 250 investors each, which means there could be as many as 1,250 people involved
Investors say they saw thousands of pounds in their trading accounts for the first few months
But when profits started to dip, they say Mr Singh made excuses about Brexit and avoided questions about withdrawing funds
Between December 24 and 26 they say all their money had gone and they could no longer contact him
He deleted his Instagram pages and was added to the FCA warning list of unauthorised traders on December 31
Hundreds have now reported him to Action Fraud
Mr Singh, who used the Instagram name @GS_3 and @gs3trades, was added to the Financial Conduct Authority’s warning list of unauthorised Foreign Exchange (Forex) traders on December 31.
The financial watchdog warns: ‘This firm is not authorised by us and is targeting people in the UK.
‘Based upon information we hold, we believe it is carrying on regulated activities which require authorisation.’
Mr Singh is currently being looked into by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) after hundreds of victims reported him to Action Fraud.
MailOnline has been in contact with dozens of young people who claim they signed up to GS3 Trades after being approached by him on Instagram.
Group chats seen by MailOnline contain 440 alleged victims, but one of them says there were five WhatsApp groups set up by Mr Singh, each with 250 investors, which means there could be as many as 1,250.
Screenshots of the trading account used by Mr Singh’s broker appear to show that a total of £3.527million was taken from his customers.
They say he claimed to use an FCA-regulated broker called Infinox.
Alleged victims say they were led to believe their trades were being managed by the FCA-authorised Infinox based in London.
It has since transpired their trades were being looked after by another firm called Infinox registered in The Bahamas.
Mr Singh has not responded to MailOnline’s requests for comment.
He previously said that investors had signed a power of attorney with the broker in the Bahamas, who carried out the trading on their behalf.
The 20-year-old claimed he deleted his Instagram for ‘matters related to the police’ and that the FCA only ‘believe’ he offered unauthorised services and did not clarify which ones need to be regulated by them.
Student Kanad Patel, 21, claims he has lost a total of £21,400 after convincing his father and sister to invest in the scheme.
Mr Patel, who is studying in east London, says he has been left unable to sleep and too worried to revise for his upcoming exams after his trading account was drained.
He says he spent £2,000 of his own money and was given £10,400 by his father.
The 21-year-old also later set up a trading account on behalf of his sister who is planning her wedding abroad.
He told MailOnline: ‘I found his page on Instagram. I followed him because I was interested in learning about trading and I was looking for someone to do it for me.
‘He said it was 100 per cent safe and I would get a full refund in 90 days if I wasn’t happy.
‘It all seemed to be genuine. He said he had an office in Canary Wharf.’
After the initial £500 deposit in October, he topped up his account to £9,000.
He then invested a further £3,400 and opened an account for his sister with £9,000 of her money in it.
Mr Patel continued: ‘I deposited my dad’s money. He thought it sounded like a good idea so he put money in my account.
‘I was making £200 or £300 a day. But then my account started showing no profits at all.’
Mr Patel claims Mr Gurvin Singh told him there was a ‘drawdown’ of 80 per cent and things would go back to normal soon.
But on Christmas Eve his account had gone down to £5,000 and his sister’s one only had £3,000.
Two days later he only had £30 in his account and £24 in his sister’s, he claims.
He said: ‘The account was all red. I couldn’t tell my family so I just had to go up to my room on my own.
‘I haven’t told my parents or my sister. I’m too scared. I have my exams this month and haven’t done any revision as I’m too stressed. I am taking sleeping tablets.’
Mr Patel is trying to retrieve the money from his bank.
A-Level student Rohit Jangra also claims he fell victim to Mr Singh.
The 18-year-old from Birmingham invested £10,000 of his parents’ money in the hope of funding a pilot training course.
He noticed GS3 Trades advertising services on Instagram in August and invested the minimum £500 deposit.
The teenager claims he gained healthy profits over the first two or three months so he asked his family to invest another £9,500.
In October he claims Mr Singh announced a 20 per cent drawdown, which increased to 90 per cent in November.
He says he felt nervous, but had been assured he could withdraw the money at any time and Mr Singh was properly authorised to offer the service, so believed it would be alright.
But come Christmas Eve, his account had gone from £22,000 in profit to £6,000, losing £16,000 overnight.
Desperate to know what was happening he and others contacted Mr Gurvin Singh, who claimed the problems were ‘because of Brexit’ and profits would return to normal next year.
But 48 hours later, his account was empty, he claims.
Mr Jangra told MailOnline: ‘I was 100 per cent drawn in by his Instagram. He seemed like a real trader.
‘I used my dad’s money, he trusted me to make a good decision, but it backfired and he was furious.
‘Why would you do that? On Christmas Eve? What sort of human would do that to people?
‘He’s there talking about buying Lamborghinis and Ferraris while he’s s***ing on people’.
He added: ‘We were promised we could withdraw the money at any time. But anytime anyone said ‘When can I withdraw? he would make excuses.
He said because of Brexit the pound was slow and told us to wait, but there was no communication.
‘He would say stuff like ‘it’s Christmas, there’s no one in the office’, and ‘things will go back to normal’.
‘But when it went down to zero I knew it was done. I couldn’t think properly. I couldn’t tell anyone.’
Another student, 21-year-old Azhar Iqbal said he would have never invested in GS3 Trades if he had known he was not on the FCA register.
He invested £10,000 using his savings from part-time retail work and his £3,000 student loan.
Mr Iqbal, who lives in Birmingham, first invested in July and saw his profits rise to £19,500 by November.
He claims losses started to show on his account but Mr Singh claimed he was ‘hedging’ trades as part of his plan to double profits again by March.
But on Christmas Eve, Mr Iqbal’s account only had £35 left in it and Mr Gurvin Singh had blocked him and all the other investors on WhatApp, he claims.
He said: ‘He sold it as being FCA-registered but we found out he wasn’t.
‘He said he would trade on my behalf and would guarantee 10 per cent profits every month.
‘He told us that we could withdraw at any time. But when anyone said ‘can we withdraw?’ he would always make excuses.
‘He said ‘You can’t withdraw because it will affect our trades.’
When his account plummeted, he claims Mr Singh scapegoated his broker, Infinox.
But when he approached Infinox, they blamed Mr Singh, he says.
Asked about the effect the loss has had on him, he said: ‘It ruined my Christmas. It’s ruined everything.
‘It’s like starting from zero again. All my life saving’s from when I started working at 17 are gone.
‘Usually I help my parents pay the bills but I can’t do that anymore.
‘I can’t even tell me family, they would be too upset. They think I’ve still got the money.’
IT manager Richard Ham decided to take action after he was also allegedly duped by the scheme.
He only invested £1,500 in GS3 Trades but decided to create WhatsApp and Telegram groups of alleged victims after many claimed Mr Gurvin Singh blocked all forms of communications with his clients and they were left with nothing.
The 35-year-old from south London says he decided to invest in Forex after getting involved in cryptocurrencies in recent years.
He said: ‘I work in cyber security, so I’m interested in the technical side of it.
‘He made out like he was FCA-backed. So I thought he was genuine.
‘We thought he was using a broker called Infinox based in London, but it was Infinox in the Bahamas instead.
‘I’m not too worried about the money. It’s more the principle. He promised us. He needs to explain himself. That’s the drive for me.’
Mr Ham and another alleged victim called Jonathan Reuben have linked up all the people they can who were in the GS3 Trades customer WhatsApp groups.
He says his group has 440 people but believes there are many hundreds more.
Matthew Horan, security director of C3IA Solutions Ltd and National Cyber Security Centre Certified Company Lead warned against potential scammers.
He said: ‘The age old saying that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good is right and therefore step away.
‘People like Mr Gurvin Singh will be trawling the web for potential victims.
‘I concur with the FCA advice wholeheartedly, anyone wishing to conduct online transaction or trading on the individual’s behalf should first check with the FCA on their approved traders register to ensure that the individual or company is a bona fide trader.
‘If they are registered by the FCA and they are found to be in breach then individuals must contact them through the consumer helpline.
‘The FCA has the ability to investigate and seek compensation, if not reported due to a victim feeling embarrassed or ashamed then the problem does not get highlighted, and then the fraudulent activities can carry on and more people become victim.’
According to research carried out by Action Fraud, until recently over 55-year-olds were the biggest targets for investment fraud.
But new figures show 13 per cent of under-25s would trust an investment offer received via social media compared to just two per cent of over-55s.
An Action Fraud spokesman said: ‘We can confirm we received a number of reports in December 2019.
‘They are currently being assessed by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.’
The FCA said it could not comment on Mr Singh’s case any further but Infinox Capital Limited is a broker registered with them in London.
Jay Mawji, managing director of Infinox Capital Limited said his UK firm does have a ‘brand relationship’ with the Infinox in the Bahamas but they are completely separate companies.
He told MailOnline: ‘I don’t know this person at all, he is not a client of ours.
‘Infinox Bahamas is allowed to carry our brand name but it’s a separate legal entity and it’s not the same company. It has nothing to do with our FCA-registered business.
‘We are concerned this person has been using our brand and our name when he has nothing to do with us and this is something we will be investigating.’
Infinox Capital Group Limited is regulated by the Securities Commission of the Bahamas but is not covered by UK jurisdiction.
Gurvin Singh previously said in a statement: ‘Investors signed a limited power of attorney with [the broker] which is regulated in the Bahamas. [The broker] carried out the trading on the client’s behalf.’