The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today sounded an alarm about a fraudulent clone website that was impersonating Plus500, the Israeli-based but London-stock market listed CFD provider. The watchdog warned investors to watch out for other websites that claim their services were developed or authorized by regulated brands to lure and possibly scam them.
The FCA said an attempt by FRCM Management had been made to reproduce the Plus500 webpage in many areas and context, under the domain, www.financereserve.com. To this end, the copycat broker was trying to usurp the names and other legal information of Plus500 and try to convince them that they are indeed the authorized firm.
FX brokers are among those that have been targeted by rogue operators who clone their names and websites in an attempt to part unsuspecting investors from their cash.
The high number of warnings from the City watchdog, which issues clone alerts roughly on a daily basis, underscores the concern in the sector over copycat sites.
The FCA has warned that fraudsters typically use the name of a genuine firm, launching a website with a similar design to the original.
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Today’s announcement is the latest in the FCA’s series of warnings about clone firms posing as legitimate approved businesses, to con UK consumers into making payments for investment services.
Among those it warned about this month were unauthorised firms purporting to be affiliated with the financial services group, AT Global Markets (UK) Limited.
Clone firms are not an unusual occurrence in the industry, as fraudsters have grown increasingly resourceful in recent years. A commonly adopted tactic is for scammers to advertise an illegal operation as a reputable brand or entity.
The FCA encourages traders or those considering online trading to exercise caution. It is strongly advised against funding an account or investing via this specific company. Anyone who chooses to sign up with the impostor should bear in mind that they will not receive the financial authorities’ assistance should things go awry.