The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Britain’s financial markets watchdog, today unmasked yet another fraudulent entity, this time bringing to light a clone of ADV Investment Bank (ADVinvest), according to a FCA statement.
Almost all firms and individuals offering, promoting or selling financial services or products in the UK have to be authorised by the FCA.
The suspicious clone firm uses on its website an FCA authorised firm’s registered address, which is located at Courtyard Mews, Piccadilly House, London Road, Bath, Avon, BA1 6PL. The fraudulent firm can be found under the website www.advinvests.com.
ADVinvests is a common type of fraud known as ‘cloned firms’, which usurp the identity of an existing authorized entity in order to give the appearance of trustworthiness or legitimacy, and thereby to convince investors of its legitimacy.
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In this case, the cloned firm embezzled the reference number 195786, which belongs to an authorised firm operates under the name Advance Investments Limited.
A visit to ADVinvest’s website reveals its attempt to mislead investors that it is offering a legal product and claims to be governed by the FCA.
Apparently, the fraudsters behind the scam are not professional enough as they made some funny claims including that their brand is licensed by London Stock Exchange group, and on the Arabic version wrongly wrote the abbreviation of the U.K. regulator as FSA, the predecessor of the FCA. Additionally, the genuine firm is offering advisory services while its foolish clone operates as a forex broker.
The FCA reminded UK investors that clones employ the tactic of adopting a legitimate company’s name when they cold call potential victims, urging them to be wary if they get contacted by anyone claiming to work for this company.
Based on this, the watchdog stated in its official statement that it strongly advises investors to only deal with financial firms that are authorised, and check the Financial Services Register to ensure they are. It also noted that you should be aware that if you give money to an unauthorised firm, you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.