Many Belgian citizens have got rich thanks to a revolutionary new system. You don’t need any experience, as a trader will guide you throughout this adventure. You can start investing with as little as €250. This is a limited offer, so hurry and sign up via our online form.
Did you believe this message? If so, you could have fallen into the trap of a tried and tested fraud. Several such advertisements are circulating on social media. They generally use the image of various celebrities, who sing the praises of a get-rich-quick scheme.
In October 2023, the FSMA conducted a communication campaign to raise public awareness of investment fraud. The campaign has led to a more than 80% increase in the number of consumer questions received in October and November 2023, as compared to the same period the previous year. These included questions from consumers who had doubts about a possibly fraudulent offer as well as reports of actual cases of fraud. This considerable increase emphasizes the importance of raising awareness of investment fraud and attests to the trust that consumers place in the FSMA. The FSMA wishes once again to stress the importance of remaining alert and promptly recognizing fraudulent service providers.
What does this kind of fraud look like? We’ll explain it all, step by step.
- First of all, an advertisement appears on your Facebook feed with a catchy title. For example: XXX (a famous celebrity) urges all Belgians to seize the opportunity! or XXX’s new project has the world and banks in awe! Some fraudsters go so far as to create video clips showing a fake interview.
- Intrigued, you click on the link and are redirected to an article that seems to have appeared in a well-known newspaper. The article begins with a catchy headline and the photo of a celebrity or prominent individual.
-> Tip: Always check that the URL to the article really belongs to the newspaper in question. If it is a different URL address, this is a fake article.
- You will then read that a TV presenter tried to interview the person about his or her secret for getting rich quick. However, the broadcast was interrupted by a major Belgian bank.
-> Tip: Take a careful look at the contents of the article. The text of a fake article is often inconsistent and has spelling or grammar mistakes.
- Nevertheless, the article continues, the newspaper succeeded in obtaining an exclusive interview in which the celebrity was able to reveal their secret. The famous individual got rich thanks to an investment programme or platform dealing in cryptocurrencies!
-> Tip: Never invest in products you do not understand.
- Several people are said to have tested the system: it works! Thanks to XXX, they got rich in just a few weeks.
-> Tip: If an offer is too good to be true, it most probably is.
- Lastly, the article explains how to sign up. It seems quite easy and all you need is €250 to start investing. Moreover, you don’t need any experience trading. But there are only a few spots left, it says, so hurry and sign up!
-> Tip: Be wary of an offer that creates a sense of urgency or implies this is something rare or exclusive.
Have you nevertheless signed up? This is what might happen:
- You fill in a contact form. A few minutes later, you receive a phone call from an “expert”;
- The person at the end of the line reassures you and guides you through the various steps to make a payment;
- Next, you are put in touch with a “trader” who helps you open an account on an online trading platform;
- This “trader” then tries to create a bond of confidence with you so as to encourage you to invest ever more money;
- You see your earnings rise rapidly, and the platform looks very professional;
- Everything seems fine. You even manage to recover part of your earnings;
- However, when you try to make subsequent withdrawals, unexpected problems emerge. You have to pay unforeseen “taxes”, to which additional fees are added, and so on. And on and on;
- You begin to doubt the legitimacy of this platform and tell the so-called “trader” of your concerns;
- From that point on, the tone changes and your contact person starts to be threatening;
- You are no longer able to reach him or her, or worse, you are subject to daily harassment;
- In the end, you never recover the total amount invested.
For more information, please see our flow chart Investment fraud: the “classic” scenario, as well as the page on How to recognize and avoid fraud. Please take a look at our awareness-raising videos (available in French and Dutch only).
Do you think you may have fallen victim? Feel free to contact the FSMA directly via its consumer contact form. The FSMA also advises you to lodge a complaint with the local police or judicial authorities.