City of London Police highlight binary options fraud rise, Sir Richard Branson joins fight

Maria Nikolova

The number of reports about binary options fraud surged in the last financial year in the UK, with criminals often using the names of prominent people to lure clients.

The growth of binary options fraud in the UK has become a long-lasting trend, the number of enquiries and complaints about scams involving binary options continuously increasing. The tactics used by criminals have also evolved, with fraudsters often abusing the names of prominent people and businesses to attract clients.

The City of London Police today issued a special announcement with regards to such an approach by binary options fraudsters. Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, is warning that criminals are using his name and that of his companies to dupe people into buying fake investments. He has been contacted by victims who have discovered that their investments are worthless or non-existent.

Sir Richard Branson said:

“I am determined to prevent anyone being confused into giving money or their personal information away on a false pretence. These scams can be terrifyingly deceptive and I would urge everyone to look out for these stories and report them as soon as you see them.”

The warning was accompanied by some startling numbers. Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, has registered a steep increase in reports of binary options fraud with the number of reports tripling in the last financial year. The financial losses surged from £2 million to £13 million in the period.

The biggest issue is that defrauded people cannot count on the investor protection provided to clients of financial companies regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as the latter does not oversee the binary options sector. The typical thing that the FCA does when faced with a complaint about binary options firms is to redirect it to the Gambling Commission. The Commission, however, deals only with regulated businesses.

Investors are advised to report any suspicious cases with the Police and to check the background of their investment services providers.

Apparently, however, this approach is too lax. Some jurisdictions have taken more decisive steps: Israel has moved on with the first arrest of the head of a binary options firm, whereas Canada is seeking to impose a ban on advertising and selling of binary options.

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