News & Warnings

The FSMA warns against fraudulent credit offers

Warnings
11/10/2019

The FSMA warns consumers against spam messages containing fraudulent credit offers.

What is spam?

Spam is the collective name for unwanted messages and advertisements. Cybercriminals use this technique to obtain personal information from consumers (phishing) or to swindle them.

Fighting spam is extremely difficult as spam messages are often sent from untraceable or short-lived email addresses.

What are fraudulent credit offers?

Fraudulent credit offers relate to false credits offered in order to wheedle money out of consumers. The providers are fraudsters pretending to be lenders or collaborators of credit institutions.

These fraudsters offer consumers credits at very attractive conditions. If a consumer wishes to take up the offer, he/she is asked to make certain payments supposedly to cover costs relating to the credit (e.g. an insurance premium to protect the lender against the risk of the loan not being repaid, dossier fees, administrative costs, etc.). Those costs are, however, fictitious.

Once those so-called costs are paid, the lender disappears without a trace, making it nearly impossible to recover the amounts paid.

Examples

Hello,
In need of a loan with a 2 % interest rate? Please contact us if you are interested.

Credit amount:
Duration:
Aim:

I offer financial assistance ranging from 5,000 euro to 2,500,000 euro at a 2 % interest rate. We are established in Germany and provide assistance in various areas.
PS: contact me by emailing your request to name@gmail.com

 How to recognize fraudulent credit offers and what to do about them?

  • Verify the email addresses used. Such providers often use email addresses that end with @hotmail.com, @gmail.com and @outlook.com. Authorized lenders and registered intermediaries in principle use a professional email address.
  • Spelling mistakes, unclear logos and vague email addresses that have nothing to do with the lender are important indications of fraud.
  • Beware of any offers of credit on unusually favourable terms. A very large loan at an extremely low interest rate or with a particularly long repayment period could be an indication of fraud. This is certainly the case where such loans would not be granted by authorized lenders.
  • Be all the more suspicious if the lender asks that you first pay a sum of money to cover certain costs before issuing the loan.
  • Always check the lender’s identity and find out whether he has the requisite authorization. Via the search engine on the website of the FSMA, you can easily determine whether the person has the requisite authorization or registration. Persons without an authorization or registration may not offer you a credit.
  • Be wary of 'cloned firms'. These companies pass themselves off as authorized undertakings even though they in fact have no connection with the latter.
  • Be wary if you receive an unsolicited credit offer. Receiving such an unsolicited email is often the first step of a fraudulent practice.

In case you suspect you are receiving spam messages, you are advised to delete them immediately! Do not react to unsolicited credit offers.

How to avoid ending up on a list used by cybercriminals?

Tips provided on www.safeonweb.be:

  • Keep your email address private. Make sure that your email address is not posted publicly on the internet. Those who send spam and phishing emails automatically scour the web for email addresses. Always think twice before entering your email address somewhere.
  • Do not respond to unwanted messages and do not click ‘unsubscribe’ in spam mails. This way, spammers and phishers know that the email address actually exists and is still being used. You will receive even more spam. Moreover, the links in those emails are often false links.
  • Think twice before entering your email address for newsletters and marketing campaigns. 
  • Don't forward chain letters. Forwarding a chain letter causes your e-mail address and that of your contacts to be spread, so you will receive more spam.