Japan FSA warns investors of rising cold calling fraud

Rick Steves

Investors are encouraged to remain vigilant and conduct thorough due diligence on any investment solicitations they receive.

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan has issued an urgent warning to investors regarding an increase in fraudulent schemes involving cold calling.

The deceptive practice involves entities pretending to be reputable brokerage or asset management firms contacting potential investors through phone, email, or fax to solicit investments in securities or financial products.

After securing payments for supposed investments, these cold callers often vanish, leaving investors without their money or any securities.

The FSA has clarified that legitimate solicitation of securities transactions requires registration or licensing by national regulatory bodies, which these cold callers lack. These entities often provide false addresses and claim to operate from countries different from their target victims, complicating efforts to track them down.

The warning follows reports from overseas investors and cooperation with international regulators who have identified several entities claiming to be based in Japan. These entities are not registered under the Financial Instrument and Exchange Act of Japan, prompting the FSA to list these non-authorized entities publicly. Investors are strongly advised to verify any firm by consulting this list as well as checking for official registration before making any investment decisions.

In alignment with the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), which issued a similar investor alert in February 2002, the FSA emphasizes the necessity of international collaboration to combat such fraudulent activities. The IOSCO’s statement advised investors against making decisions based solely on cold calls, especially those promising high returns or “guaranteed” profits without any regulatory authorization.

Investors are encouraged to remain vigilant and conduct thorough due diligence on any investment solicitations they receive. The FSA’s list of non-registered entities and additional information on recognizing and avoiding investment scams are available on their official website and through linked international resources.

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