Another day of life, another group of scam artists added to the Financial Conduct Authority’s warning list. On this occasion, the company is a clone of a genuine investment manager that has the approval of the British regulator – European Capital Markets (ECM).
Clone firms are set up to mirror genuine companies. Using the regulatory license number of a firm, for example, can allow a group of scammers to lend themselves an allure of respectability and aid them in their efforts towards attracting ‘investors.’
The amusing thing about this case is that the scammers’ site is actually better than the real ECM one. To browse through the genuine ECM website is to take a trip back in time to the early 2000s. With a faux-futuristic design and a menu that looks like it was pulled from Windows 98, this author approves of the website’s nostalgic decor.
Conversely, the scammers’ website looks like it was built using the most recent WordPress template.
Leaving aside the user experience, perhaps the best thing about the real ECM website is that the company’s CEO, Gian Ameri, has included his own Myers Brigg test results under the ‘Company Profile’ section.
“To provide a thorough and objective assessment of his strengths and weaknesses and of the core values which form the base of European Capital Markets Limited,” the site says, “Gian A. Ameri has submitted to an independent and comprehensive psychometric review.”
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Attached to the page is a 14-page PowerPoint presentation that details his results. We learn, for example, that Ameri is likely to “rarely express or share [his] deepest feelings” and that he may “seem on the outside to be dry, materialistic and untouched by human feelings and values.”
The scammers, who genuinely are dry, materialistic and untouched by human feelings and values, have not included a similar test on their website.
In fact, and to the surprise of no one, they haven’t included any details as to who they are or where they are operating from.
Thus, we can safely assume that they are simply doing the oldest scam trick in the book – give me your money, I’ll invest it. Oh no, your money is gone, and we can’t retrieve it. Bye.
Just remember folks, if you are going to do business with ECM, make sure it’s the one that’s led by a man named Gian Ameri who deals “with emotional situations in a way that appears relatively unskilled and rigid.”