Man swindled out of over $1.4 mil. in social media investment scam

A man in western Japan has been swindled out of more than 220 million yen, or about 1.4 million dollars, in a social media investment scam. The case is one of many involving online scams by fraudsters impersonating celebrities.

Police say the company president in his 70s in Osaka Prefecture was viewing investment-related sites on his smartphone in February when he found a fake ad featuring entrepreneur Horie Takafumi.

The man tapped the ad and was taken to a chatroom of the messaging app LINE run by someone impersonating Horie.

He then got a message encouraging him to invest in silver, with an expected return of more than 640,000 dollars.

The man was instructed to place buy orders through a silver futures trading website when prices fell.

He ended up wiring to designated accounts more than 1.4 million dollars in nearly two months.

The man reportedly realized he was scammed after losing contact with the adviser.

Messages he received include one in a voice that sounded like Horie's.

Police suspect the message may have been created using artificial intelligence.

They say fake online investment ads run by people impersonating celebrities have been rampant in Japan. They add that the damage from such fraud in Osaka Prefecture this year totaled some 10.9 million dollars.