It might only be Monday morning, but already the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a statement on its website, warning against AGM Invest, which it believes is a clone firm.
As the name suggests, clone firms are fraudulent entities which copy details of a legitimate firm, such as their name, website, address, registration details, etc. Some even go to the lengths of completely copying a firm – from their website, to brand, in order to trick investors into thinking that they are the actual legitimate firm.
Clone firms are a big problem in the foreign exchange (forex) and cryptocurrency sectors. As Finance Magnates has reported, Tickmill, Dukascopy Bank and broker-dealer ICAP, among others, have all been targeted by clone firms.
“Be aware that the scammers may give out other false details or mix these with some correct details of the appointed representative firm,” the British regulator cautioned in its warning against AGM Invest.
AGM Invest Claims to be Regulated in Belize
The warning from the FCA this Monday against AGM Invest, which also goes by the name of AGM Group, states that this entity is a clone firm of AGM Financial Services Ltd, which offers residents of the UK insurance services.
The clone firm, however, which operates via the website http://agm-invest.com, claims to be a trading provider for cryptocurrencies. It states that it is regulated in Belize by the International Financial Services Commission (IFSC).
Via its website, the clone firm states: “AGM Goup is a retail FX broker incorporated in Belize and licensed by IFSC. AGM Group is created to provide low cost trading solutions to retail FX traders. AGM Group integrates new technology and high quality services, and aims to be transparent, efficient, and automatic in nature.”
In the warning, the UK regulator states: “This FCA appointed representative firm that fraudsters are claiming to work for has no association with the ‘clone firm.’”
Instead, the regulator provides the following details as:
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Firm Name: AGM Financial Services Ltd
Firm Reference Number: 790622
Address: 1 Marschal Court, Stirling, Stirlingshire, FK7 7UY
Telephone: 07724 749 150
Crypto Scams are on the Rise
Financial scams, particularly regarding cryptocurrencies, are on the rise. As Finance Magnates reported, £27 million ($34.4 million) was lost by investors to FX and cryptocurrency-related scams in the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
According to the FCA, authorities received 1,834 scam reports last year. That was almost a four-fold increase on the prior twelve month period.
Although the FCA did not disclose the makeup of the number of scams, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) said in its annual report that there had been a switch in scammers’ preferred asset class, with the number of crypto scams skyrocketing in 2018.