In its latest clampdown against the specific type of “clone fraud,” the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned local investors to watch out for a company called ATUK, which impersonates the financial services group AT Global Markets (UK) Limited. It said that the main tactic of the scammers was to fraudulently claim that they had the relevant permissions to operate.
To this end, ATUK was trying to usurp the names and other legal information of AT Global Markets and refer consumers, for example, to the official website of the FCA to try to convince them that they are indeed the authorized firm.
The fake 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. The FCA-authorized broker is available at www.atfx.com/uk and has no association with the clone brand’s domain atfx-uk.com.
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Furthermore, the ATFX clone had also been taking advantage of its misleading name to solicit traders who are based in the United Kingdom. The firm was not only identifying itself as a well-known online trading company under false pretenses, but it was operating without authorization as well. Consumers are thus deceived, thinking they are dealing with a regulated entity. That alone is a major violation of British law.
The City watchdog said in recent statements that it saw an increasing number of cases of the problem and that FX brokers are particularly vulnerable. The FCA pointed out that a common hallmark of fraud, which are claims of too-good-to-be-true gains, is often in place with this type of scam too.
While this phenomenon is rising in prevalence, some clone scams contacted the FCA itself claiming to represent regulated firms and asked to change the legitimate company’s contact details on the register, saying details were out of date. As per usual, this action aims to make the clone firm appear genuine and give their own phone number and website details to potential victims so that traders will mistake it for the legitimate entity.