This Monday, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has flagged two companies which it considers to be clone firms, with the latest offender being Schurz Helmut, which is fraudulently copying the details of an authorized firm.
Specifically, the clone firm operates via the website www.schurzhelmut.com and claims to offer a number of investment products such as foreign exchange (forex), fixed-income and more. It also states that it is based at 25 Canada Square, London, E14 5LQ.
However, the British regulator highlights that this entity is not authorized to provide financial products or services in the United Kingdom, but it is targeting residents within the UK regardless.
Furthermore, as per the warning the clone firm is claiming to be associated with another company by the same name Schurz Helmut which operates via http://lml.at/partner/lembach/ and is based in Austria.
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The legitimate firm offers insurance, investment and financial services within the European Economic Area (EEA). As the regulator outlines: “This FCA authorized firm that fraudsters are claiming to work for has no association with the ‘clone firm’. It is authorised to offer, promote or sell services or products in the UK.”
FCA Remains Vigilant with Spotting Clone Firms
Clone firms, as the name suggests, is when a company clones details of an authorized entity to appear legitimate. Sometimes, as is the case with Schurz Helmut, the clone firm will copy the name, logo or website to create a false perception of affiliation with a legitimate company.
In other instances, the cloning is less noticeable. The fraudsters might only copy an address or, in order to look authentic, copy the financial license number or authorization details of another firm.
Thanks to the internet, these financial scams are becoming more and more sophisticated and what once would have been an obvious scam is now harder to identify.
Only this morning the FCA published a similar warning on its website, this time, the regulator flagged Financial Exchange, which operates via the following website – https://financial-exchange.com – and is claiming to work for the London Metal Exchange Limited. However, this is not true according to the UK watchdog.