The UK Financial Conduct Authority has put out a press release that warns about a new ‘clone firm’ investment scam impersonating FX broker Exness, a provider of FX services and ECN trading capabilities.
In a statement on its website, the regulator said the unauthorised clone firm is going under the name of ExnessFXcapital, operating through the domain https://exnessfxcapital.com/.
The copycat broker has chosen to operate under a name similar enough to Exness to convince potential clients that it was the authorized online trading firm that had contacted them.
This also provides an easy hunting ground for clone scams who target victims via paid-for adverts. As such, the City watchdog undertakes proactive monitoring, almost on a daily basis, to identify potential scams and provides search engines and social media networks with details of the alerts it issued. It also works closely with domain registrars to make it more difficult for cloned websites to stay online, and remove them as quickly as possible.
Exness is a multi-regulated foreign exchange and CFD platform, which hosts nearly $2.8 trillion in monthly turnover. The company acquired its regulated UK license, an IFPRU €730K firm, back in 2016 to operate a CFDs brokerage business. The broker launched a mainly retail offering, which focused on CFDs in Forex and commodities. In light of an internal business decision to restructure its business and focus on other markets to grow their B2B operations, Exness decided in 2019 to close the retail business in the EU/EEA region, including in the UK.
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.
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.
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.
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.”