Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), has published another warning for its citizens to be wary of currency trading platforms and signs it should look out for in order to identify signs of fraudulent activity.
The FSMA states:
“Cryptocurrencies are the hype of the year. Fraudsters are well aware of that, and try to attract customers online through fake cryptocurrencies and huge profits. The only thing they actually do, however, is take the customers’ money and disappear. It is as simple as that.”
In combination with the National Bank of Belgium (NBB), the FSMA supervises the Belgian financial sector. As an autonomous public institution, the FSMA was established by law and conducts itself independently to execute tasks entrusted to it by the parliament.
The regulatory body issued a warning back on the 22nd of February encouraging citizens to be vigilant fraudsters running crypto-trading platforms with intention to swindle customers. In its initial warning, FSMA stated a few recommendations which investors could keep in mind to exercise prudence. The recommendations stated:
- Always verify the identity of the company (company identity, home country, etc.). If a company cannot be clearly identified, it should not be trusted. Be wary as well of companies that claim to hold authorizations from supervisory authorities and refer you to such authorizations. Also be wary if the company or its website is fairly new; this is often the case with cryptocurrency trading platforms, which are generally less than a year old.
- Always ask your interlocutor for clear and comprehensible information, and take a critical attitude to the information they provide. Many cryptocurrency trading platforms promise guaranteed returns or protection of your entire capital. Such promises in the cryptocurrency sector are, however, illusory! Moreover, if an offer is fraudulent, the guarantees given is equally so.
- Be wary of (promises of) completely disproportionate gains. Where a return seems too good to be true, it usually is.
The regulatory body has issued a list of 78 trading platforms that they have verified to be fraudulent based solely on the findings of the FSMA, in particular as a result of consumers’ reports. The FSMA has been increasingly proactive in spreading awareness about cryptocurrency trading platforms, as many consumers that have invested in these fraudulent platforms never recovered the funds that they invested nor do they hear back again from the company.