Belgium’s watchdog warns of three boiler rooms
Belgium’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), has issued a warning against the unauthorized activities of multiple platforms that are offering investments in the country without complying with Belgian financial legislation.
The FSMA notes that several fraudulent trading platforms offer to their customers affiliate programs that exhibit signs of a pyramid scheme.
FSMA operates as a watchdog for financial trading, securities and markets in Belgium, overseeing a variety of assets and compliance issues for traders and consumers. Today’s warning is the latest initiative in its efforts to clamp down on companies engaging in fraudulent activities.
“These trading platforms try to arouse consumers’ curiosity by placing scam ads on social media or online video platforms. In these fake ads, a (well-known) person often explains how to get rich quick. Trading platforms also sometimes use mobile applications to lure victims,” it said.
The agency also managed to catch up in the last few months, bringing standalone actions against cryptocurrency operators. This represents the FSMA’s latest effort to police the rampant internet-based cryptocurrency schemes, which operate into a zone that the watchdog regulates.
The latest additions include:
- IWL Consulting (www.iwlconsulting.com)
- May Capital Group (www.maycapitalgroup.com)
- South Pass Partners (www.southpasspartners.com)
The aforementioned companies are not authorized investment firms in Belgium. They are therefore not allowed to provide investment services in or from within the country.
Some of these are cloned firms, a common type of fraud in which a firm usurps the identity of an existing authorized entity in order to give the appearance of trustworthiness or legitimacy, thereby convincing investors of its legitimacy.
The Belgium watchdog defines boiler rooms as a type of fraud that involves contacting customers unsolicited, often by telephone, offering to sell them little-known shares or exotic financial products. Although the boiler rooms often claim to be authorized service providers with professional websites and forms to fill out, they are in reality swindlers that offer fictitious or worthless shares or products.
Based on this, the FSMA strongly advises against responding to any offers of financial or recovery services made by the companies listed above and against transferring money to any account number they might mention.
To get the protections offered by securities laws when trading digital assets, investors should use a platform or entity registered with the FSMA, the regulator said.