Financial frauds on the rise in 2020, Belgian reg' stresses
In the first half of 2020, a majority of reports by consumers received by the FSMA concerned fraudulent online trading platforms (27.87%), fake credit offers (17.29%) and fraudulent offers of wealth management and alternative investments (26.38%). The Belgian regulator underlined that these reports constituted 71.54% of all reports of fraud received during this period, which is higher than in 2019.
The FSMA pointed out that victims have lost at least €10m from May 2019 to September 2020 to online fraudulent platforms offering investments in binary options, forex products, CFDs or cryptocurrencies, often using fake advertisements and aggressive methods. Similarly, consumers are offered wealth management and savings products, often with a guaranteed return or offers of wealth management contracts, only to end up being duped of their savings.
The regulator warned consumers to be wary of promises of such disproportionate returns or companies that claim to hold authorisations from supervisory authorities (often through identity theft), research about the company and even contact the FSMA, when in doubt.