Introducing brokers operating in the margin FX business have been hit by a spree of counterfeit emails posing as their broker. In the email, introducers were being directed to a dummy page that mirrored the domain name of the broker, in the case of FXCM, their IB’s were being re-directed to their partner section.
The emails which are known as phishing scams have been requesting the IB’s to login into the ‘Merchant Area’, the section of the site that holds key client data.
Yesterday, FXCM responded by sending an email to its introducers explaining the situation. In the email, which was sent by the firm’s compliance department (FXCM labels its introducers as Referring Brokers), FXCM states, “FXCM has been notified that a number of Referring Brokers (RBs) have received phishing emails, including links that mirror the login site for RBs, specifically the Merchant Area website.”
Phishing scams are a by-product of the emergence of email as a medium of communication. The type of emails has evolved over the years and contains touchy and emotional type stories, in an attempt to defraud individuals by requesting their personal information for data, such as banking and payment services.
The latest email to introducing brokers is an interesting innovation in the field, as scammers have recognised that IBs are a useful source of income.
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FXCM explained to its clients in the email, that it does not contact clients via email requesting personal data. Major banks were hit by phishing scams in the mid 2000’s, their response to clients was on a similar note.
FXCM states in the email notification: “FXCM does not initiate contact with Referring Brokers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.”
Financial services firms, brokers and banks are not the only ones who have been duped by the phishing scammers.
Scammers have gone beyond boundaries and sent fraudulent emails claiming to be from the UK tax office, a government organization, and requesting people to submit personal details in response for tax rebates.
The HMRC states on its website, “HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will never send notifications of a tax rebate by email, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email. Do not visit the website contained within the email or disclose any personal or payment information.”
Phishing scammers are using several techniques to try to carry out their fraud, they send emails that include viruses, once opened, they install malware on people’s computers. This copies their personal details for websites they visit e.g. internet banking.