FSMA Warns Belgians over Investment Scams Using Fake Celebrity Endorsements

Belgium’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), has issued a warning against the unauthorized activities of multiple investment scams that are offering investments in the country without complying with Belgian financial legislation.

Belgians were also warned not to fall for scams in which digital crooks use fake celebrity endorsements to promote investments.

FSMA further explains that such adverts on social media encourage people to visit websites that host phony endorsements about “get rich quick” schemes. Victims are asked to click on a link to make “a concrete investment”, but the money is really being sent to fraudsters, the regulator explained.

Sometimes these ads lead straight to a dodgy cryptocurrency site, the FSMA says, while other times they’ll lead to a webpage with bold claims about how a public figure earned a quick buck by following a financial trick.

Celebrities tend to be perceived as more effective in financial scams in the sense that they can create a call for action by lending legitimacy to the fraudulent scheme.

The FSMA oversees financial trading, securities, a variety of assets and compliance issues for traders and consumers. Today’s warning is the latest initiative in its efforts to clamp down on companies engaging in fraudulent activities.

The latest additions are:

  • Binarycent (www.binarycent.com)
  • BTC-chain (www.btc-chain.com)
  • Clever Trade (www.clever-trade.com)
  • Crypto Trading Association (www.cta-capitals.com and www.cta-capital.com)
  • FiniVieX (www.finiviex.com)
  • Finomarkets (www.finomarkets.com)
  • Genesis11 (www.genesis11.com)
  • Global Trading26 (www.globaltrading26.com)
  • Gs4trade (www.gs4trade.com and www.gs-4trade.com)
  • KapitalEU (www.kapitaleu.com)
  • LPLFinances (www.lplfinances.com and www.lplfinances.eu)
  • NitroCapitals (www.nitrocapitals.com)
  • OrbitGTM (www.orbitgt-m.com)
  • Sunton Capital (www.suntonfx.com)
  • Uptrade (www.uptrademarket.com)
  • Ventera Group (www.venteragroup.com)
  • Winbitx (www.winbitx.com)

Some of these are cloned firms, a common type of fraud in which a firm usurps the identity of an existing authorized entity in order to give the appearance of trustworthiness and legitimacy, thereby convincing investors of its legitimacy.

Based on this, the FSMA strongly advises against responding to any offers of financial or recovery services made by the companies listed above and against transferring money to any account number they might mention.

Earlier last month, Belgium’s regulator warned against the unauthorized activities of Finiko, which made false claims to garner business for its trading robots.

Finiko offers Expert Advisors (EAs) which are typically used to automate trading in CFDs, forex and cryptocurrency derivatives. The FSMA said the app provider fraudulently solicited Belgian consumers to purchase its trading system by misrepresenting the software’s effectiveness.

The notice also accuses that Finiko encouraged those who bought the EA to promote it. They offered attractive commissions and incentives to onboard more users to invest through their app.

As such, Finiko broke FSMA regulations against distribution of CFDs, forex, crypto-derivatives and other investment products that are prohibited in Belgium.