Elijah Oyefeso claimed to be a successful stock trader who could afford a luxurious lifestyle. But behind his young and rich persona, is it true that he's actually a fake trader on Instagram?

The financial market has always been risky to all traders, whether it's from the market dynamics, the broker scheme, or simply the people you meet along the way. For many people, the name Jordan Belfort certainly sounds familiar. He is the infamous Wolf of the Wall Street, whose story was told in a box office movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio back in 2013. Although the film was supposed to be cautionary to its audience, ironically, some young people perceived it as a blueprint to escape a miserable life instead.


Meet Elijah Oyefeso

Not long after the Wolf of Wall Street's UK premiere in January 2014, a 21-year-old South Londoner named Elijah Oyefeso began posting on his social media about how much money he was making as a successful trader in the stock market. As he continued to spread out his persona on social media, his story went viral.

Elijah Oyefeso

It was even published in several British tabloids such as the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, and the Mirror. The Mail specifically referred to him as the successful university dropout who used his student loan to start trading and then earned £30,000 just by working one hour a day. On his Instagram, he even claimed himself as the founder of a trading firm called DCT, which stood for Dreams Come True.

The self-created image of luxury and wealth at such a young age had made Oyefeso's story so special and inspiring to the online audience. He also started his own YouTube channel where he showed off his £250,000 cars and how he traveled with private jets as if it was not a big deal.

January 2016 then became his turning point as he was featured in the Channel 4 show called Rich Kids Go Shopping, in which he bought fancy jumpers and gave them to homeless people to show the viewers that it was easy to make money from online stock trading. Since then, he had significantly gained more followers, especially on Instagram.

For many younger audiences from areas such as the poorer part of Camberwell in South London where Oyefeso grew up, or those who found him on social media, Oyefeso gave the impression of a self-made millionaire that fit to be an inspirational icon or idol. As for someone who was just a normal guy from a small town with no privilege of being a famous university graduate, Oyefeso surely appeared to bring hope. Unfortunately, it turned out that the story was much deeper than he portrayed, and not all of it reflected the truth.


A Cover to Reach Unsuspecting Clients

By using his massive numbers of followers, Oyefeso began his "career" as a social media "influencer", which means that he would use his big Instagram and Twitter accounts to influence people and spread knowledge about online trading. While that part is arguably true, he's clearly not a positive influencer as he actually used his social media platform to sell trading products and trick a bunch of his teenage followers who didn't know any better about the financial market.

Basically, the first thing he did was posting photos of the luxury goods that he claimed to have earned with his trading profits. He purposefully used trendy hashtags such as #richkidsofinstagram to easily grab people's attention and then mass-followed young people's accounts. As soon as someone followed him back, he would slide into their DMs and offered "a great chance to earn £100-400 per week from trading with no experience required".

He also mentioned that the work would be done from home and would only take about 15-30 minutes per day. Just imagine what a young, ordinary person would think of such an opportunity. There's no doubt they would voluntarily sign up straight away!

Once they agreed to participate, Oyefeso would ask them to join a certain platform and start trading. What he failed to mention was that the trading platform that he introduced (with a minimum deposit of at least £250) would pay him around £40-80. This is how he made risk-free money: by being an affiliate of trading companies. The catch was that the platforms he promoted were typically dubious in terms of safety and their overall credibility. If the company is highly regulated, why does it have to bother with such fishy marketing promotion?

Anyone who followed Oyefeso's recommendation was most likely to lose all of their capital. They would soon realize that the only way to redeem the money they've lost is by repeating the process: becoming a paid marketing affiliate, pretending to be a successful trader to gain attention, and the cycle goes back again. Oyefeso even admitted that some of his victims were under 18, and they used their parent's names to sign up. It seems that for him, they're not just teenagers but a source of income.


A Troublesome Reality

Over time, Oyefeso's fairytale is starting to dim as many have exposed his dirty works on the internet. Many people have shared reports of his arrest with mocking comments and published articles accusing him of fraudulent activities.

Oyafeso was arrested for a while after crashing his car into a friend to whom he owed money; a claim which he disputed. Last autumn, he was sentenced for dangerous driving and possession of a weapon but got released a month later after what he claimed as a successful appeal. In one of his most recent YouTube videos, he looked like he just hired a private jet to announce his return after he left prison. Yet, in reality, his tremendous amount of wealth is still nowhere to be found. The only company that was registered to his address was IWANTTOTRADE Ltd, and it was dissolved back in 2016 without any record of income.


The Wolves of Instagram

What Oyefeso did was actually a trick of a broker's marketing affiliate. He's not alone as many other so-called young and successful traders have shown off their luxury goods on social media doing the same marketing scheme. For Oyefeso and his kind of people, the luxury and elite lifestyle are nothing but a façade. They would continue to be fake traders on social platforms such as Instagram and aim to gain more followers by marketing their successful stories and showing off their wealthy lifestyles. That's why they're now popularly labeled as the wolves of Instagram, referring to their similar natures to the wolves of wall street.

Now you might be wondering how this whole "fake trader" trend on Instagram started. Essentially, there are many grey areas that you can find in the financial sector. One of the products often seen as risky or shady is the binary options. The concept is actually quite simple. You just have to sign up with a minimum deposit of £250 by using a debit or credit card, a button that says you're over 18, and then bet on whether the price of a certain asset or product will go up or down.

These products became popular in the late 2000s alongside online trading software and mobile betting platforms, particularly in Israel and Cyprus because their regulatory frameworks can access European markets without the heavy control of European regulators. As a result, new binary options companies began to grow so quickly.

While some companies like Plus500 and 24Option are legitimate, many others are borderline fraudulent. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed in 2016 that 82% of all trades using some of these products end up in losses, with an average amount of loss is £2,200 a year. So in the past few years, there has been a lot of skepticism towards binary options. The US even banned them due to high volatility. While in the UK, they were classified as high-risk gambling products and must be regulated by Gambling Commission as well as the FCA.

The FCA has conducted a thorough investigation regarding investment scams and binary options frauds and has raided around 20 suspicious areas. However, when it comes to social media influencers that work as the middlemen for foreign firms like Oyefeso, the FCA is still having difficulty tracking them all.

They're so easy to escape the watchful eyes of the regulatory body, since it's almost impossible to identify all marketing affiliates masquerading as successful traders on Instagram if it's only based on hashtags like #binaryoptions or #richkidsofinstagram. In addition, thousands of accounts generating them appear and disappear constantly.


Final Words

Oyefeso's story is just a small part of the whole trend, but it is clear enough to demonstrate that the fake trader issue is real and still going. Though now many people might have known about Oyefeso's foul plays, the chance of meeting someone like him on social media is not diminishing. Social media is still packed with fake traders like Oyefeso himself, who are aware that regulators won't be able to track them easily and keep up with their online activities at all times. As social media users keep growing in the past few years, so do the complaints about these so-called social media influencers' stealth marketing actions.

If you're young and don't know anything about trading or investing in the financial market, you need to be aware of this problem and learn not to trust success stories by young fake traders on social media. Trading can indeed be a great investment, but make sure to learn the basics first before you jump into it and only choose trusted companies to facilitate your trades.