Cypriot regulator CySEC is the latest target of clone fraudsters

abdelaziz Fathi

The Cyprus Security and Exchange Commission today said it believes that an India-based company has been impersonating its identity through a cloned website that mimics some aspects of the Cypriot regulator.

The CySEC alleges that the copycat website has chosen to operate under the domain https://cysecgov.com, an address name similar enough to its original domain https://www.cysec.gov.cy, so that it can convince investors that it’s the genuine watchdog.

On top of that, the commission said that the clone website impersonates the organization in many areas and context.

“This website is a scam and not associated with CySEC. Another distinction is that all the announcements on the website that illegally copies that of CySEC are only until October 2020. The real CySEC website has announcements up until this month, August 2021,” the CySEC notes.

‘Clone firm’ scams have increased in recent years, including those targeting Cypriot brokers, as fraudsters have become more sophisticated in their ways. Often times, the scam works by setting up a clone website to look exactly like the genuine website they are copying.

Scammers often acquires real material available online, edit the content and mix genuine details with fraudulent details to make themselves look legitimate.

The Cyprus financial watchdog warned in July that there was evidence of fraudulent impersonation of its officials who are engaged with firms under CySEC’s supervision.

The regulator cautioned the public about persons who approach clients of suspended brands, or those under investigation, claiming that they can help them recover their capital.

Under current laws, CySEC has no powers to force internet companies to refuse financial advertisements or block access to their domains. It can only ask them to take down fraudulent promotions once they have been spotted. As a result, fraudsters and promoters of high-risk schemes have been able to place advertisements claiming to be based or licensed in Cyprus.

CySEC stresses that these firms are not licensed to operate a brokerage business in Cyprus, nor are they affiliated with a regulated entity. Additionally, it warns that if consumers lost their money on platforms that are not licensed, they are not protected under the Investor Compensation Fund (ICF). This serves to protect the claims of covered clients and provide them with compensation, in case a member was unable to meet its financial obligations.

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