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.
How does the FSMA act against spam?
- The FSMA handles consumer questions and notifications about credits, whether or not fraudulent.
- After investigation, the FSMA may publish a warning against fraudulent credit providers. In those warnings the FSMA explains how fraudsters operate and gives tips on how to recognize false credits.
- De FSMA forwards dossiers regarding fraudulent credits offers to the judicial authorities, to enable them to take appropriate measures, e.g. blocking access to fraudulent websites.
What can you do?
- Inform your customers about the existence of false credits, and urge them to always verify the identity of the credit provider and whether he has the requisite authorization. Via the search engine on the website of the FSMA, your customers can easily determine whether the person has the requisite authorization or registration. Persons without an authorization or registration may not offer credits.
- Customers who have already fallen victim to fraudulent credit offers, can be best referred to the local police or the judicial authorities to file a complaint.