Scammers have cloned the identity of FCA-regulated firm PIA-First Limited, an independent research firm that offers trading signals for professional clients and brokers, and are luring in victims by claiming the reference number of the authorized provider.
A warning over the scam was issued by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which has been at the forefront of the fight against the financial fraudsters, recently adding Option Four Ltd, trading as OptionFX, to its list of dubious brokers.
Although visually different from the official PIA-First Limited’s website, including the logo, the fraudulent site exploits the company’s reputation by featuring its official website address at the foot of each web page and listing all its regulatory license numbers.
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The original company operates a brand called Signal Centre, which provides trade ideas and trading signals on global markets across multiple asset classes. It also provides B2B integration to help brokers increase client education of multiple products.
Clone firms are not an unusual occurrence
As per usual, this seems like yet another instance of a scam operation where an unlicensed company illegally assumes the identity of an authorized company so that traders will mistake it for the legitimate entity.
Clone firms are not an unusual occurrence in the industry, as fraudsters have grown increasingly resourceful in recent years. In a cloned scam, the fraudsters copy or “clone” a legitimate website. The copy of the website can be astonishingly exact, or just an approximation with copied logos, but the intent is ultimately to separate victims from their money, credit card number, or login credentials.
The FCA encourages traders or those considering online trading to exercise caution, strongly advising 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.