BaFin warns that StakeFX Markets is clone broker of BaFin-regulated broker Stak FX

Rick Steves

Users should always check the registration of any firm they are interested in working with by visiting the local regulator website’s broker check page.

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The German financial watchdog, BaFin, has come forward to warn retail investors that StakeFX Markets Ltd, Seychelles, does not have authorization under the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz – KWG) to conduct banking business or provide financial services.

Not only StakeFX Markets Ltd, is not supervised by BaFin, but the company also claims a connection to or identifies itself as the Cypriot company Stak FX Ltd, which is registered with BaFin.

stakefx.com is conducting business without proper authorization

The German regulator states that it has no reason to believe that the claim is true; rather, it is likely that Stak FX Ltd has become the target of identity fraud.

BaFin believes that Stak FX Ltd is being a victim of identity fraud, with StakeFX Markets Ltd being a clone broker. Both the government agency and the German state criminal police recommend that consumers seeking to invest money online should exercise the utmost caution and do the necessary research beforehand in order to identify fraud attempts at an early stage.

“The information provided on the stakefx.com website and the information and documents available to BaFin give reasonable grounds to suspect that the platform is being used to conduct banking business and/or provide financial or investment services in Germany without the required authorization”, the regulator stated.

Investors should confirm broker’s authorization in regulator’s broker check page

Earlier this year, Canadian state regulator Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) launched a multi-media campaign to raise awareness of spoofed and cloned websites of legitimate registered investment firms.

The initiative focused on the act of “cloning” or “spoofing”, which involves fraudsters creating a website that imitates or closely resembles a legitimate registered investment firm’s website and information, most often unbeknownst to them.

The campaign features an interactive spoof website that highlights several tell-tale signs of fraud in an easy-to-navigate educational manner.

Fraudsters look to take advantage of those interested in investing, “getting in early,” looking for low or competitive rates, or not missing out on the latest trend or great “opportunity” to make money. Spoofed or cloned sites can be found on internet searches and pop-up ads offering attractive returns and no risks. They can also be targeted through email, text, apps and social networks where they are encouraged to visit the fraudulent website.

Users are then urged to invest and to deposit additional funds if it appears they have made money. Some websites will allow investors to withdraw early returns only to establish credibility.

Regulators across the globe always call consumers to be alert when dealing with investment platforms of which they have no prior knowledge. In particular, investors should be suspicious of any unsolicited investment offers made online, on social media, or over the phone, especially if they require payment in bitcoin or other digital assets. Remain cautious even if you may have initiated contact with the firm.

Consumers must also be mindful of the red flags of cloned/spoofed websites and duplicate websites for firms found through pop-up ads and internet searches.

Users should always check the registration of any firm they are interested in working with by visiting the local regulator website’s broker check page.

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