Since our warnings of 1 March 2019 and 5 June 2019, even more consumers have reported to us that they were approached by companies with a variety of offers, with rates of return far higher than market rates, and with claims to be guaranteed. The FSMA once again warns consumers against these, because often behind these tempting offers are scammers who are not authorized to make such offers, the sole aim of which is to steal your savings. The FSMA also draws the public's attention to the sites that have been newly identified during recent weeks.
The principle remains the same: victims are contacted by phone by a salesperson, who offers them wealth management contracts, (savings) accounts or alternative investment products (rare earths, gold or precious metals, etc.). In essence, you give them your money and they manage it for you, with the promise of high – or even guaranteed – returns.
The concept, however, is too good to be true. In the end, despite the promises, the investors never recover their money!
- The suspect companies active in recent weeks
In recent weeks, the FSMA was informed that the companies behind the following websites have been approaching Belgians with these types of offers:
The FSMA warns that these companies do not hold an authorization and are thus not permitted to offer investment services in Belgium. Moreover, it is very likely that these are cases of investment fraud, which means that in the end, the amounts invested are never reimbursed.
Warning: In order to appear more convincing to consumers, these companies have usurped the identity of authorized investment firms: namely AE Global Investment Solution Ltd, D Capital Partners Ltd, BNP-Paribas (Fortis) and Radix Trading BV. For more information on identity theft, see the FSMA’s warning of 28 January 2019.
- How to avoid the trap?
In order to avoid such cases of fraud, the FSMA urges you to exercise utmost prudence and advises you to remain alert to any indication of investment fraud. It offers a few recommendations to this end:
- Be wary of (promises of) completely disproportionate returns. If a return seems too good to be true, it usually is!
- Always verify the identity of the company who is contacting you (company identity, home country, etc.). If a company cannot be clearly identified, it should not be trusted. Find out as well when the company website was set up: if the company’s website is relatively new, this could be an additional sign of investment fraud.
- Be wary if you are asked to deposit money to bank accounts in countries without any connection to the country where the company contacting you is said to be registered or with your own country of residence. Be wary as well if you are asked to deposit money into accounts whose beneficiary is someone other than the company itself.
In any case, if your contact person comes across as particularly insistent, this is an additional indication of fraud.
Be wary and do not trust the 'professional' look of the website to which you are referred; fraudsters clearly do everything they can to appear as legitimate as possible.
More than ever, then, prudence is necessary.
For more information about this type of fraud, the FSMA invites potential investors to consult its warning of 1 March 2019.
If you have the least doubt about whether financial services being offered to you are lawful, please do not hesitate to contact the FSMA directly via the consumer contact form. As well, feel free to notify us of any suspicious company that has not yet been the subject of a warning by the FSMA.