FCA exposes Expotoro / Tratoro, fake clones of eToro

abdelaziz Fathi

The United Kingdom’s financial markets watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), today unmasked another fraudulent entity, this time bringing to light a clone firm operating under the brand names Expotoro / Tratoro, which has been posing as the Israel-based investing platform eToro.

The watchdog states in its announcement that the suspicious company lists its address on its website the authorised firm’s FRN and registered address.

Although Expotoro doesn’t explicitly claim to be licensed by the FCA, they are in fact using the details of eToro in an attempt to convince investors that they work for a genuine firm.

The named broker is a common type of fraud known as ‘cloned firms’, which usurp the identity of an existing authorized entity in order to give the appearance of trustworthiness or legitimacy, thereby convincing investors of its legitimacy. This type of scammer may give out other false details or mix these with some correct details of the registered firm.

Besides clarifying that the firm in question lacks the proper authorisation to be targeting British customers, the FCA also said in its official statement that it strongly advises investors to only deal with financial firms that are authorised, and to check the Financial Services Register to ensure that they are. The UK watchdog further stated: “You should be aware that if you give money to an unauthorised firm, you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.”

FCA has been at the forefront of the fight against the financial fraudsters, recently expanding its list of dubious brokers almost on a daily basis.

Fraudsters in the financial services space have numerous methods for trying to get their hands on victims’ cash and one tactic that is becoming increasingly common is the fake or cloned website. In a cloned scam, the fraudsters copy or “clone” a legitimate website. The copy of the website can be astonishingly exact, or just an approximation with copied logos, but the intent is ultimately to separate victims from their money, credit card number, or login credentials.

The spread of fraudulent clone websites that mimic the sites of reputable financial entities is nothing new, but regulators have yet to get to grips with the rampant trend.

The FCA tells consumers that “fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been cold called.”

The UK watchdog itself was cloned earlier this year, when fraudsters imitated the FCA’s website and created a fake page urging firms to register for annual fees.

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