The number of scams in the foreign exchange (forex) industry is unrelenting. As soon as one is caught, it appears another five come up to take its place. This Friday, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) continues its battle by flagging an unauthorized entity.
The warning from the regulator informs investors that the website smartoptionfx.com belongs to an entity which is not regulated or authorized by the Cypriot regulator to provide investment services and/or the performance of investment activities.
Furthermore, the regulator states: “In the above-mentioned website, there is a reference on the name and license number of the former Cyprus Investment Firm B.O. Tradefinancials Ltd (license number 216/13). CySEC wishes to draw your attention that, on 25.6.2018, it has decided to wholly withdraw the Cyprus Investment Firm authorisation with number CIF 216/13 of the company B.O. Tradefinancials Ltd.”
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B.O. Tradefinancials Ltd. (BOT) is part of the TechFinancials Group. The firm, which had regulatory approval in Cyprus, used to operate the firm’s OptionFair trading platform. As Finance Magnates reported, as of February 2018, the platform has shut down, and TechFinancials has returned BOT’s regulatory license to CySEC.
Therefore, the unauthorized entity’s claim that it is connected to BOT and that it is regulated by the now non-operational firm’s license is false, as the license is simply no longer active. Based on the information provided, it appears that smartoptionfx.com is a clone firm.
Clone Firms Continue to Target FX Brokers
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.