Belgium’s financial market watchdog, the FSMA, has received complaints from consumers about new fraudulent online trading platforms, it said in a statement on Wednesday. Advertisements purporting to promote these services often feature a well-known person presenting a get-rich-quick scheme. “After clicking on the ad or downloading the mobile application and providing their contact details, the victims generally quickly receive a phone call from the scammers who present them with a concrete investment proposal (in shares, in alternative investment products , in virtual currencies, etc.)”explains the FSMA.
“These platforms act in a very aggressive way. The criminals go so far as to try to convince the victims to let them take control of their computer remotely so that they can make certain transfers.”
Malefactors attempt to persuade victims to pay ever larger sums, claiming that an additional payment is required to release their funds. This is a technique to extract even more money from them, warns the FSMA.
Victims report that they never manage to recover the invested agent, or that they simply no longer hear from the platform on which they invested money.
The FSMA notes that several fraudulent trading platforms offer consumers a so-called “affiliate program”. These programs present the characteristics of a pyramid scheme or a Ponzi arrangement (fraudulent financial arrangement which consists in remunerating the investments of the customers essentially by the funds procured by the new entrants, Editor’s note).
Investors are advised to always verify the identity of the company offering them an investment (corporate name, country of establishment, registered office, etc.).
A search on the FSMA website also makes it possible to check whether the company has the required authorisations.