Banks and brokers have been continued targets of creators of clone websites, now we can add P2P lending to that list. The UK’s financial regulator, the FCA, issued a warning today against Zopa Loans Review, stating that they are unauthorized to provide loans in the UK, as well as being unaffiliated with the popular P2P lender Zopa Limited.
The warning comes as clone operators have upped their activity over the past twelve months. The website creators typically use two types of methods. The first one is the creation of an unregulated offering using branding such as website colors or the name of a popular regulated firm. The second method is one where a firm may use a different name or branding, but portrays itself to be regulated, and prints the financial license number of a regulated firm. For both methods, the goal of the clone operators is to spoof customers with a goal of gaining sensitive financial information such as credit card and bank account numbers.
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Copying Zopa, the clone site is leveraging the Zopa P2P lending brand which has become a popular destination for consumers to source loans at rates below those of banks. In attracting potential customers to provide information, the unauthorized Zopa Loans Review site states that they are licensed by the FCA, with the regulator rejecting this claim.
With many banks and brokers experiencing a growing problem of clone sites, the arrival of such a website for P2P lending could indicate that these fraudsters are now putting their eyes on the growing multi-billion marketplace lending market.