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CySEC warns of fraudulent impersonators on social media

The Cypriot watchdog issued a public warning after it spotted a fake Instagram account impersonating its official presence. This comes on the heels of a formal warning made on September 7th, 2023.

The Instagram account, operating under the username “cysec_cy”, has been used by unidentified perpetrators who are fraudulently presenting themselves as official representatives or officers of CySEC. They are misleadingly soliciting investors for fees, promising to settle fictitious compensation claims related to firms overseen by CySEC.

In light of this fraudulent activity, CySEC has reiterated several key points to ensure public safety. Contrary to the methods employed by these fraudsters, the commission neither initiates contact through phone calls nor dispatches unsolicited correspondence. Moreover, CySEC does not, under any circumstances, request personal or financial data.

Scammers often acquire real material available online, edit the content and mix genuine details with fraudulent details to make themselves look legitimate. While genuine correspondence from CySEC always uses email addresses ending in gov.cy, there have been instances where malicious actors have cloned these addresses for duplicitous purposes.

The fraudsters offer false assistance to investors in filing compensation claims against sanctioned firms, typically online trading companies that offer speculative investment products. Through these initial contacts, the scammers illicitly acquire additional personal information from unsuspecting individuals.

The commission also stated that it does not possess the authority or jurisdiction to levy fees on individual investors. In addition, CySEC has never, and will never, appoint third parties to collect fees on its behalf. It also clarified that it remains uninvolved in any form of class actions, compensation schemes, or transactions between either public or private entities.

CySEC has consistently issued public warnings whenever such cases are identified. However, the watchdog stresses that it is crucial for investors to exercise caution, remain informed, and verify the legitimacy of any communication they receive. If individuals encounter suspicious activities or believe they may have been targeted by fraudsters, they report the incident to CySEC or the appropriate authorities for further investigation.

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.

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