BaFin warns of ‘fake authority’ scam in Germany purporting to be UK FCA

Rick Steves

“BaFin would like to make clear that the British Financial Conduct Authority does not contact consumers in Germany.”

Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, better known by its abbreviation BaFin, has warned that retail investors are being contacted by persons purporting to work for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the United Kingdom’s financial watchdog.

These scammers are claiming to offer assistance with the recovery of lost funds, but first they require a transfer of high sums of money in order to proceed with verification, according to BaFin, who received complaints from consumers residing in Germany.

“BaFin would like to make clear that the British Financial Conduct Authority does not contact consumers in Germany. Fraudsters have used the same strategy using BaFin’s name in the past. BaFin does not contact consumers and request that they transfer money”, the German regulator stated.

The financial watchdog asked those affected by this scam to turn down any offers or demands and inform the police or the public prosecutor’s office.

Consumers can also contact BaFin’s consumer helpline: 0800 2 100 500 or +49 (0) 228 299 70 299.

FCA reported increase of 73% in ‘fake authority’ scams in 2020

This is far from being the first time scammers purport to work for the UK FCA. This has come to a point that the British regulator ended up creating a website page clarifying consumers about fake FCA emails, websites, letters and phone calls.

The FCA has most recently received reports of a fake letter from an FCA director, claiming to relate to a review by the FCA of the ‘Star Like project’. “Signs that a letter may be fake include spelling mistakes and poor grammar”, the UK regulator stated, adding that it sends emails from addresses ending in: fca.org.uk, fcanewsletters.org.uk, and fcamail.org.uk.

In 2020, there was an increase of 73% in ‘fake authority’ scams reported to the FCA. ‘Fake authority’ is a type of scam where fraudsters claim to be from the FCA. They may also claim to be from the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the organisation that previously regulated financial services in the UK.

“It’s important to remember that we would never ask you to transfer money to us. We would also never ask for sensitive banking information, such as banking account PINs and passwords”, the FCA said. “On rare occasions, we may call you in connection with ongoing investigations. In those cases, we may ask for some personal details, to confirm your identity or for the purposes of the investigation and/or proceedings.”

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