Finding “Sharon”: A hunt for the social media profile that scammers are using for crypto investment scams

Tara Annison
5 min readOct 7, 2022

If you haven’t had a chance to read my previous post on the case study of a typical instagram crypto scammer then I’d recommend taking a read first:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/case-study-typical-instagram-crypto-scammer-tara-annison/

In this I detailed how I had come across a finflunecer (financial influencer) called sharon__mentorship who was trying to swindle people out of their crypto with a fake investment scheme. From the profile and engaging with her I knew it was a scam (you can read the piece to learn what these red flags were), but one unanswered question I (and some others who read the piece had) was …. Who really is Sharon!?

So I set about finding out ….

Using plenty of googling, trawling across social media sites and reverse image look ups using the images on Sharon’s instagram I found not only the real Sharon but also a few more fakes along the way.

Initial searching led me to the TikTok page of Maryam Orla who had a page full of videos and photos, many the same as from Sharon’s Instagram. https://www.tiktok.com/@maryam_trade_club?lang=en

It seemed I’d found her pretty easily, until I noticed some of the videos were “investor testimonials” showing how much BTC people had made with Mayam’s help. Cross checking on Instagram I found an account with a single post and a meagre 5 person following. https://www.instagram.com/maryam_trade_club/ Although I agreed with the caption on the solo post “Bitcoin is the Future 📈💰” , it was clear this wasn’t the real Sharon.

So onwards I searched.

One lead led me to a closed Facebook page of Melissa Williams from a company called cryptomax but this appeared to have been deleted. Possibly another scammer using the profile which Facebook has closed down.

I then discovered another sharon__mentorship on Instagram!

The original one I’d spoken to had 55.8k followers (although when I re-checked as I was writing this piece, I saw that her followers are now 46.5k, so that’s a nice downward trend), and then I came across sharon_mentorship (note just the one underscore in the name!) who has 22k followers and was using the same images and videos. So this still didn’t lead me to the real Sharon, I now just had twin fakes!

However after some more reverse image searching and scrolling through google I came across a LinkedIn profile which had a familiar boss lady style profile, long dark hair, power suit and a bio of:

Venture Capitalist | Coach To The Elites 👉🏼 I Provide 100% Property Bridging Finance | 👉🏼 On a mission to close the gender pay gap through my mentoring since 2012 🙏🏻

I reached out to alert her of the scammers across social media using her profile but sadly didn’t hear back. However her Fortune Academy does include a warning against fake profiles, so she’s at least aware.

Curious about the person’s profile who was being used in scams, I decided to google her ….

I quickly found a website questioning her credentials and in fact calling her a scammer- how the tables turn! https://financefeeds.com/beware-hither-mann-fortune-academy-neither-hither-thither/

Within this piece there was a mention of her various companies so I ventured to Companies’ House to see what I could discover.

I found 9 companies she has associated with, all of which have now been dissolved, and the vast majority being created and struck off within 2 years. Interestingly, all seem to have had one or more family members being added as directors or persons of significant control and then later removed. The nature of business in her early companies seems focussed on property rather than forex trading which roughly aligns with her LinkedIn showing her as CEO of a property company from 2003 to 2011, and it’s only in 2018 she is made director of a company which falls into the category of ‘Activities of open-ended investment companies’. However her directorship lasts just a short 3 months before she resigns. According to her LinkedIn she has been a professional forex trader since 2012 and self describes as “THE WORLD’S FIRST FEMALE TRADER” which seems a stretch to say the least.

https://fortuneacademy.co.uk/

When reviewing any supplied accounts for her related companies, most do not have any fillings and those which do show very modest success with the most impressive posting a £24k end of year profit. However as her last associated company was dissolved in 2019 it’s difficult to say whether her proclaimed success that is paying for helicopter rides, super cars and stays in some of the most luxurious hotels around the world has come since then and is just documented in more opaque company structures. What is clear though is that she has not had any formal employment within a financial institution as a trader, so any financial markets knowledge and associated trading success would be entirely self taught …. certainly impressive …. if true.

Looking further into her offering with Fortune Academy and The Billionaire Project, there’s some strong parallels between the language used and what you would see in crypto investment scams. This raises some red flags but she wouldn’t be the first investment advisor to offer life changing courses and profess to be the best trader in the world.

Reviews for her courses are split between 1 and 5 star reviews with some claiming that

“I regret being involved with Hither Mann. I wasted my money and my time. She is a scam artist the only skills she has is marketing and manipulate people.”

and others passionately declaring

“This program has taught me far more than I thought it would. To become a professional trader which is my goal… YOU NEED THIS PROGRAM!!!!… Enough said!!!”.

I was also a little confused to see Calum Best — tv personality and son of the famous footballer, in one of the student testimonial videos!

Finally I had a quick check of the courses offered and saw a new online course called “Crypto Masterclass — suitable for beginners” although disappointingly the link leads to an empty page. Time will tell whether Hither is an investment coach who’s had her profile used by crypto scammers or whether it turns out she’s also a scammer and now venturing into crypto!

Maybe I’m just overly sceptical as I spent my time interacting with crypto scammers though …

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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