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How to protect yourself from unregulated information online

Ella Jukwey
Written by  Ella Jukwey
Jonathan Leggett
Reviewed by  Jonathan Leggett
7 min read
Updated: 23 Apr 2024

Have you noticed more people jumping on get-rich-quick schemes or ‘wealth mentality’? Are your kids talking more about investments, crypto and being a CEO than they are Fortnite?

You *might* want to thank social media for that.

While videos on social media were once mostly limited to funny videos, novelty dance crazes or cute animals, as the number of content creators and reach of social media platforms has grown, so has its range of content. Some creators who are keen to jump on the latest trends are turning their attention to the world of financial advice.

There has been a dramatic rise in the number of creators offering bite-sized financial wisdom, promising quick riches and savvy investment strategies in a matter of seconds. However, as the allure of easy money captivates audiences, a growing body of evidence suggests that not all of the advice found on social platforms is as good as it sounds.

In fact, earlier this year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a statement warning creators to stay on the right side of the law, noting a rise in unregulated advice and undisclosed incentives for influencers promoting them.

Risky business – The MoneySuperMarket finfluencer study

To analyse the money advice available on social media, our panel of experts reviewed 350 shortform videos across a range of money-based hashtags.

On each video, our panel considered the following criteria:

  • Is the advice regulated?

  • Is the person giving the advice qualified?

  • Is the advice correct for most people?

  • Is the advice realistic?

  • Does the advice highlight any appropriate risks?

  • What is the risk level of the advice?

  • Does the person giving advice also promote an affiliated product?

  • Could the advice given have a negative impact on finances or mental health?

  • Is the advice total nonsense?

Based on how videos performed against the criteria, the panel member then decided whether the video was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ overall. All the criteria were considered, so failing one category didn’t necessarily mean a video was ranked as poor.

Our panel included an independent qualified financial advisor, chartered accountant and Kara Gammell, MoneySuperMarket’s own money expert.

Types of videos analysed

Social media filled with ‘dangerous’ and unregulated financial advice

Our researchers found that eight out of 10 (81%) videos that were promoted using money related hashtags contained unregulated financial advice, with around three quarters (77%) of influencers also using their “tips and tricks” to promote a product or service in their video, description, or bio.

Our panel deemed that a staggering seven out of 10 (74%) of the videos reviewed contained poor, misleading or potentially dangerous advice, often from influencers with no declared financial qualifications or expertise.

Types of bad advice

When it came to the types of poor advice given, the study uncovered that just over three quarters (76%) contained unrealistic scenarios (usually related to gains on investments), while just under a third (32%) encouraged viewers engage in high risk schemes without fully explaining potential downsides.

Even when it came to general money or saving hacks, videos in the study frequently contained nonsensical, contradictory or jargon-filled advice which offered no real substance to viewers. In fact, after reviewing several videos, our experts created a new category of simply “nonsense” to define them. Across the 259 videos labelled as ‘bad advice’, 38% were considered total nonsense.

“The Wealthy Mindset” - money or your life

In addition to poor, unqualified and unregulated financial advice, worryingly our panel felt there appeared to be a trend of promoting an unhealthy, potentially harmful culture towards money, work and relationships, which when combined with unrealistic promises of wealth, could potentially be damaging for viewer’s mental health.

Typically presenting as a “wealthy mindset” our researchers found that around two-fifths (41%) of videos promoted what could be considered an ‘unhealthy’ relationship towards money, with just over a quarter (28%) personal or relationship advice which was perceived as potentially harmful.

This was particularly concerning when nearly one in 10 (9%) videos were expressly aimed at under 18’s, with the panel finding videos directed at children as young as 11.

The most common personally ‘harmful’ advice given was encouraging unhealthy relationships towards money, with many emphasising the need to start potentially damaging mindsets at a young age.

A common theme of potentially personally harmful videos was encouraging young people to dedicate all their time to accumulating wealth to invest at the expense of personal freedoms or in some cases any form of recreation until they were worth at least one million pounds / dollars. This was often reinforced by encouraging people to be “boring” or in other ways imply that becoming wealthy was easy to do, providing viewers wanted it enough and weren’t lazy.

Of the videos with potentially harmful advice, we found derogatory terms towards people were frequently used. These terms included multiple instances of influencers referring to people as “stupid”, “lazy” and “losers”, typically for not being money-orientated enough, despite the schemes or tips presented often being unrealistic.

Most concerningly, our panel also found videos promoted under finance and money hack hashtags frequently contained potentially damaging and harmful interpersonal and relationship advice.

We found that 28% of videos included messages that that could encourage unhealthy inter-personal relationships. These potentially harmful messages included telling people to isolate themselves and cut out friends and family, judge their self-worth by how much money they made, revolve their life around accumulating money, refuse to associate with people with less money than themselves or take extreme measure of frugality to deprive themselves of lifestyle benefits to horde money to invest, often in undeclared affiliate schemes.

While not quantified specifically in the study, the panel noted this was particularly prevalent in videos aimed at young men, who were often encouraged to be more ‘alpha’ and not waste time on low net-worth romantic partners or friends.

Most misleading categories

Of the videos studied, videos under the investment category (which also included cryptocurrency and forex) were the most misleading or contained poor advice.

Worst Categories

Across this category 90% of videos provided unregulated advice, with the majority (62%) either promoting a particular product or service, or in some cases specifically telling people to invest in specific stocks, cryptocurrency coins or forex trades.

Issues spotted in videos

Most investment videos (76%) avoided talking about risks altogether. Instead, discussing gains as if they were guaranteed. Almost the same number (73%) were pushing high-risk investments.

Instead of warning about potential losses, most videos (77%) made misleading claims about how easy it is to profit from trading or crypto, often boasting that little to no work or knowledge is required.

Our panel also acknowledged anecdotally that this was the category most likely to be targeted towards young men. The videos often centred around young men in designer clothing, typically in exotic locations promoting high risk or unrealistic investment schemes in an aggressive, macho manner. They also often drew parallels to making money and being more attractive to a ‘better quality’ of romantic partner.

Importance of trusted sources

While our study found significant levels of unregulated misinformation, it’s important to note that not all short-form social media videos were potentially dangerous or harmful to viewers.

Around a fifth (19%) of videos in our study came from sources that clearly stated their background, qualifications and expertise, along with clear explanations of what the advice or tips given were.

Proportion of trusted videos

Of the ‘good’ advice available, most tended to be in budgeting and general money-saving categories, with business and investment categories having far fewer positively rated videos.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bulk of these ‘good’ videos came from verified media outlets, and are presented by financial journalists or qualified experts.

Based on a like-for-like randomly selected sample, a video which passed our criteria was on average approximately 40% longer than one that failed to meet them.

Panel member, Kara Gammell, finance expert at MoneySuperMarket said: “Of the videos I reviewed, the vast majority offered unregulated advice and were either misleading, unrealistic, or in some cases potentially dangerous.

“As a parent, it’s staggering the amount of content our children consume daily, and now money talk and side-hustle culture seems to have become the latest trend on the playground. But while kids engaging with bite-sized information about things like savings and budgeting might sound like a good thing, the reality is very few of them contain accurate, realistic or genuinely helpful information.

“Most worrying for parents is the number of videos which present as money tips only to veer off into questionable personal advice, like cutting out friends or family, or only valuing people who make significant amounts of money.

“Often, we found videos preyed on the self-esteem of those watching them as well, with the influencer seemingly living a life of luxury suggesting it was incredibly easy for people to do the same, despite offering no real advice, usually with the end game of getting more engagement or selling some type of mentoring course.

“To those drawn in by so-called finfluencer videos, the financial adage still applies: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Question who the person is and what they gain by creating their content, being especially wary if they’re selling a product or service alongside it.”

Panel member, Craig Palfrey, Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Wealth Manager and Managing Director of Penguin Wealth, said: “When it comes to making the right financial decisions, there’s no ‘one size fits all’. Every person is different, and no two circumstances are the same.

“That means, even if you take some of these creators and their advice at face value, there’s no guarantee that just because something worked for them, it will work for anyone watching their content.

“However, that’s a generous interpretation, given the content of the videos we reviewed. In most cases we found advice to be overly simplified, unrealistic, fundamentally flawed and in some cases, total nonsense.

“As a result, most amounted to little more than get-rich-quick schemes, and we found some of the advice given could have a detrimental impact on the people watching them. This is particularly concerning when some of these videos are clearly targeted at children, while offering highly misleading information or promote what, in some cases, were frankly toxic attitudes toward relationships, money and self-esteem.

“While not all videos we reviewed offered bad advice, my view would be to exercise caution when considering following money tips from influencers, especially if they are not part of an established, reputable organisation.

You can find trusted and realistic tips for making the most of your money from MoneySuperMarket’s experts at money news. MoneySuperMarket also has helpful guides to help you look after your credit score, start saving, and find a deal on a new bank account.


From February – March 2024, MoneySuperMarket’s panel reviewed over 350 short form social media videos (less than 3 minutes long), from popular social media sites which were labelled with money related hash tags and categories.

The panel contained an independent Certified Financial Planner, Charted Accountant, and MoneySuperMarket own experts.

Videos erroneously labelled or not related to money topics were discard from the sample size before analysis

Where multiple videos came from the same account only a maximum of five videos were eligible to come from a singular account. However, it is possible that creators may appear on multiple videos across other channels or accounts.

As video analysis was qualitative, how each video is graded is open to a level of interpretation. As such, the findings in this study also only reflect the sample used and not all short form videos on the internet.