Belgian financial regulator, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), once again issued a warning to the public against the activities of various providers and intermediaries in binary options and forex engaging in unauthorized activities in Belgium. Moreover, some of these entities are also clones of established firms or accused of being behind a “recovery room” fraud, a new type of scam identified by the FSMA in March 2015.
According to the financial watchdog, the brokers offer investment instruments involving high risk in the country, without complying with local regulations. The announcement states that the companies are not authorised to offer investment services in the country and do not provide their clients an FSMA approved prospectus, which is an essential prerequisite to offer investment products within Belgium.
The dozens of companies mentioned this time are: Skyoptions, Tradignition, London Capital Group (cloned firm) et Fortune 2015 Ltd, Maya Company Ltd, BFBMarket, FIPconseil, Starbust limited, BHR Conseils et YJ Concept, Mercuria Technologies LTD et Optionsmarter, Ftradition, Equity Capitals, Haussman Capital et Direct Epargne, S&B Seven Ltd, Binareo et HSB Group Ltd, Binaroom, B.H.N.V. online Ltd et Opteck, Invest-Binary, F&C Investments (F&C Management – cloned firm), LIBServices ltd, Next Binary, Trade Invest Group, Trading Expertise et Fortune 2014 Ltd, MIA 29 Ltd, Technopers, Secure Invest, Soft Service Ltd et September Investments Ltd, Consortrade limited, Ixitrade, Well Investments Ltd et Analyst Invest, FSI Union, General Options, Ate Binary Limited, B.P.Y Technologies Ltd et G.I. Technologies, Redford Option, Finanperf et Secure Soft Service Ltd, FXCM (cloned firm) / FXCManagement, Algorates, XFRoptions, XFR Finance Ltd et BFM International Ltd, Insta-trading et Telcom Services Ltd (Sequoia Markets) , CT-Broker et Mascarene Management (Fi Services), FXBanque et Boursoratrade, GDPX Assets ltd et Nakitrade, GFS Limited et GFS Securities and Williams Corporation Ltd (MPT Max/My Private Trade).
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The watchdog advises against responding to any offers of financial services or to any public offers of investment instruments made by these companies and against transferring money to any account number they might mention. More generally, in order to try to prevent further fraud, the FSMA recommends that investors:
- Always verify the identity of the issuing company (company name, home country, etc.). If the company cannot be clearly identified on the website of the trading platform, it should not be trusted.
- Consult the warnings published on the websites of supervisory authorities, not only as regards the issuing company but also, where applicable, the beneficiary of the account.
- Check whether the issuing company holds an authorization by consulting the lists of persons authorized to provide regulated financial services that are published on the FSMA website
- Be wary of unsolicited phone calls/emails (cold calling), i.e. where no prior request has been made by the investor. Such calls are often indications of an attempt at fraud
- Be wary of requests to transfer money to a State without any connection to the issuing company or with the State of which the investor is resident
- Be wary of (promises of) completely disproportionate returns. In this regard, it is frequently the case that fraudsters present significant earnings at the beginning, until the day when the investor asks to withdraw the funds invested;
- Investors should always be sure to verify the information they are given.
- Investors should also beware of “cloned firms”: Companies that pass themselves off as different, lawful companies even though they in fact have no connection with the latter.
- Ask for clear and comprehensible information. Investors should refrain from investing if they do not fully understand what is being offered
- Be attentive to any disparities or anomalies in the information provided by the company ( a company that claims to have existed for many years although the website is less than a year old, etc.)
- Beware of emails full of spelling mistakes
- Be all the more suspicious if the issuer makes the payout of returns conditional on an
additional payment and/or the payment of a tax.