Queensland man has lost $500,000 of his retirement savings after he fell victim to a “sophisticated and socially engineered” investment scam.

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The 66-year-old saw what he thought was a legitimate investment firm on Facebook and began interacting with scammers, who claimed to be account managers, to generate a “passive income” for himself and his children once he retired.

Ben*, who wishes to remain anonymous, told 9news.com.au it was a vulnerable time for him as he was still grieving the loss of his wife and “soulmate” who died from cancer after a long battle.

The investment site has since been removed from Google search but appears to still be active via the url.

The scam is one of many that copy existing firms by setting up similar operating systems, with managers who guide potential victims through how to “invest” their funds.

The seemingly reputable investors invite people to open up an investment trading account where the scammers can manipulate chats to represent financial growth through a fake version of a real platform.

For example, someone might put in $100 and three days later the account shows it has grown to $120.

The well-spoken scammers pose as account managers and keep in constant contact with the victim to rebuff any fears.

When the victims ask for their funds to be released, the scammers tell them they must pay down their “credits” or their “contract” if they want their funds to be released but don’t give them back their funds.

“It was almost like hypnotism… like being brainwashed,” Ben told 9news.com.au.

“It wasn’t until my bank stepped in and said hang on, wait a minute, you’re being scammed here… and they stopped everything.

“That’s when I snapped out of it and by that time it was all too late.”

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