French Watchdog Warns Against its Own Fake Clone Scam Website

Illegally using the name and logo of a regulator to gain referral commissions is a whole new level of criminal

France’s financial market regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), has issued a warning today against a website that misuses the name and logo of the AMF to promote binary options brokers.

There have been many fake scam website warnings in the past, but mostly in connection with unregulated firms attempting to benefit from the good reputation of a well-established financial institution. The illegal use of the name and logo of a regulator to gain referral commissions is a whole new level of entrepreneurial criminal audacity.

The site in question, www.OptionBinaireAMF.com, is a standard online training guide, and offers a simple comparison of binary options brokers with signup links. The site does not reveal which legal entity is behind it, but the domain name is supposedly registered under Emmanuel Nicolas.

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The AMF says the binary options brokers promoted by the site are regulated by the relevant authority in Cyprus (but avoids referring to CySEC by name). According to European law, financial firms regulated in any EU jurisdiction, such as Cyprus, should be able to solicit clients in any other EU country, such as France, under a term called “license passporting.” However, its seems the AMF does not finds this sufficient.

Today’s warning goes further, saying: “given the risks associated with this type of investment, the AMF regularly called on individual investors to avoid forex and binary options trading. The regulator has indeed issued many warning against trading and even routinely publishes a “black-list” of websites.

As a final reminder, the AMF states that the reproduction of the logo is strictly regulated, and should not be used unequivocally in a way that may cause confusion.

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