During the past few weeks, the FSMA continued to receive complaints from consumers concerning new fraudulent online trading platforms that are operating in the Belgian market.
These trading platforms try to arouse consumers’ curiosity by placing scam ads on social media or online video platforms. In these fake ads, a (well-known) person often explains how to get rich quick. Trading platforms also sometimes use mobile applications to lure victims. These fake ads or mobile applications often offer a virtual currency, trading software or a training course. After clicking on the ad or downloading the mobile app and having given their contact details, the victims are usually swiftly called by fraudsters presenting a concrete investment proposal (in shares, alternative investment products, virtual currencies, etc.). Other trading platforms contact consumers through dating apps and fake social media accounts.
The FSMA notes that several fraudulent trading platforms offer a so-called 'affiliate programme' to consumers. These programmes exhibit signs of a pyramid scheme.
These platforms act very aggressively. Scammers even try to persuade the victims to allow them to take control of their computer remotely in order to make certain money transfers. The fraudsters also try to convince the victims to invest increasingly higher amounts of money. They also make promises of repayment in exchange for one last money transfer. This is a technique to collect even more money from their victims.
Victims who agree to do so complain in particular about:
- finding themselves unable to recover their money, or
- simply not hearing any more from the platform with which they have invested their money.
These are most likely cases of investment fraud. Fraudsters not only act without the necessary authorizations, but they also divert the invested funds. In such cases, investors are unable to recover their funds because these illegal service providers are generally located abroad.
Various new trading platforms have appeared on the internet in recent weeks.
The FSMA strongly advises against responding to any offers of financial services made by the following new trading platforms:
- Asia Coinin (www.asia-coinin.com)
- Binotrader (binotrader.com)
- Buxberg (buxberg.com)
- Cedar Financial (cedarfinancial.ltd)
- Central Margins (centralmargins.com)
- Coinclick (coinclickex.com)
- Coins Crossing (coinciros.com)
- Coins Trades (coinstrades.com)
- GLE Markets (glemarkets.com, gle-markets.com, https://glemarkets3.com/)
- Globale-Invest (www.globale-invest.com)
- Grow Deposits (trade.growdeposits.net)
- Itoro-Capital / ItoroStocks (itoro-capital.com; itoro-capital.co; itoro-capital.net)
- Mega Markets (megamarkets.com, mega-markets.com)
- RXK Capital (rxkcapital.com; www.rxkcapital.org)
- STB Markets (stbmarkets.com)
- Stocks Views (stocks-views.com)
- Thinvest (thinvest.com)
- Ulian Pro (ulianpro.site)
- Webull Investing (cloned firm) (webullinvesting.com)
- Wilton Option (wiltonoption.com)
- Xpoken (xpoken.com)
In order to avoid fraud, the FSMA addresses the following recommendations to investors:
Always check the identity (company name, home country, registered office, etc.) of the company. If the company cannot be clearly identified, it should not be trusted.
Always verify if the company in question has the requisite authorization. To this end, an easy search on the FSMA’s website will do. Take note! Always beware of ‘cloned firms’: companies that pass themselves off as different, lawful companies even though they have no connection with them. A close look at the email addresses or contact details for the companies in question may prove useful in order to detect this type of fraud and prevent it.
More than ever, prudence is necessary. In case of any doubt, and before making any (more) payments, do not hesitate to contact the FSMA using the consumer contact form. As well, please feel free to notify it of any contact with a suspicious company that has not yet been the subject of a warning by the FSMA.
If you have been a victim of investment fraud, the FSMA advises you to file a complaint with the local police or with the judicial authorities.
Moreover, should fraudsters manage to take control of your computer, the FSMA recommends that you contact your bank and, if necessary, that you change your passwords.
For more recommendations aimed at avoiding investment fraud, the FSMA invites investors to consult the 'How to recognize and avoid fraud?' page on its website. Also watch the awareness campaign videos (available in French or Dutch only).