Belgians are increasingly finding their way to online investment platforms. Yet in their search, they sometimes get off track and thus end up in the sights of well-organised fraudsters. This year, the FSMA has already received 1,403 reports of fraudulent practices, or an average of five per day. That is a quarter more than in the same period last year.
Following investigations, 172 fraudulent entities could already be identified this year. Unfortunately, it still happens all too often that investment fraudsters are only unmasked when the harm has already been done. The reports coming in to the FSMA indicate that victims have been defrauded of an average of EUR 17,314. So the damage is great and makes this form of fraud particularly lucrative for scammers.
Tip 1: Check the identity of the provider
Always check your provider! You can't be too careful. The FSMA publishes lists of companies licensed to offer financial products and services. If the provider is not on it, be extra careful and don't just accept the offer. Be sure to check if you find his name on the list of companies operating irregularly.
Tip 2: Beware of scammers posing as well-known companies
Even if you think you know the provider, double check and double-check the contact details of the entity you are in contact with. Many scammers misuse the name of a known company that is licensed. This is also called 'cloned firms'. You can find more information here.
Tip 3: Do not just deposit money in a foreign account
Never accept an offer immediately. Hold off or answer 'no'. This will give you time to look up all the necessary information about the provider. Be sure to check the URL and e-mail address carefully. An address abroad, especially outside the European Union, makes it difficult to contact the provider again if you were to run into trouble later.
Tip 4: Be critical of every offer
Be critical of every offer you get. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Make sure you know what you are buying and what your money is being used for. Be extra wary if someone wants to sell you complicated investments that you don't understand yourself.
Tip 5: When in doubt, contact the FSMA
You can always ask the FSMA about a potentially fraudulent investment offer. Are you in doubt? Do not hesitate and fill in the contact form. The FSMA will contact you as soon as possible.
This campaign is an initiative of the FSMA and Wikifin.