The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today published a statement warning investors against dealing with a web-based entity posing as a UK-based investment company, Frans Ternier.
Frans Ternier is referred to by the FCA as a ‘clone firm’, a tactic used by fraudsters when contacting people out of the blue and claiming to be a regulated company. The watchdog has advised the public to be especially wary in the case of cold-calls by such companies. Clone firms are known to use the name of a genuine firm, whose firm reference number (FRN) or address they use and claim as their own.
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Fraudsters are using the details of firms authorized by the FCA to try to convince people that they work for a genuine, authorized firm. The FCA has warned that the scammers may give out other false details or mix these with some correct details of the authorized firm. In this particular case, fraudsters have been using or giving out Frans Ternier’s contact details in the UK and Abu Dhabi as part of their tactics to scam people in the UK.
On its company website, the Frans Ternier clone company claims to have been “accepted by the financial conduct authority” to trade in the United Kingdom as of 2014, which is a false and misleading statement. According to the FCA’s statement, the authorised firm under the same name, based in Oudenburg, Belgium, which the fraudsters are claiming to work for, is authorised to offer, promote and sell services and products in the UK and has no association whatsoever with the clone firm.
The FCA is a non-governmental body which regulates financial firms providing services to consumers and maintains the integrity of the UK’s financial market. Its latest warning has been published in order to warn investors against dealing with unauthorised firms. Members of the public who have been approached by a clone firm or contacted about a scam are urged to contact the FCA to register a complaint.