Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has reportedly received an increasing number of complaints from local cryptocurrency investors. The nation’s financial regulator reported that consumers had been experiencing serious issues while using digital currency trading platforms.
In response to the complaints, the regulator’s official website issued another consumer protection alert regarding crypto trading stating,
“the FSMA repeats its warning against the fraudsters behind those platforms who are using cryptocurrencies to swindle consumers.”
Repeated Warnings About Cryptocurrency Scams
In the last four years, the FSMA has issued several warnings about fraudulent schemes and scams related to cryptocurrencies. Belgium’s regulatory authority also shared an updated list of crypto firms that had been identified as “operating unlawfully” in the constitutional monarchy.
The FSMA also mentioned that the list of fraudulent crypto companies “cannot be considered exhaustive”, however, it should be carefully reviewed by those looking to invest in digital currencies. The list includes all companies found to be offering “financial services and products without complying with Belgian financial legislation.”
Additionally, crypto-related businesses the FSMA found engaging in “investment fraud” are included in the list. There have also been several cases of “recovery room” fraud in Belgium, which the FSMA described as “a practice of that consists of contacting victims of earlier fraud...to offer assistance in obtaining compensation or recovering the [previous] losses incurred.”
Fake Names, Posing As Financial Professionals
According to the FSMA, this type of fraud usually involves people using fake names to pose as financial advisory professionals. In most cases, the regulator has reported that these fraudsters ask the victim to pay fees in order to recover their lost or stolen funds. However, it “does not result in victims being able to recover the sums lost”, the FSMA warned.
Included in the long list of fraudulent crypto-related websites targeting Belgian citizens are vechain-wallet.com, minedcrypto.com, london-exchange.com, ether-invest.com, among many others. In its detailed warning message, the FSMA wrote,
“Cryptocurrencies are the hype of the year. Fraudsters are well aware of that, and try to attract customers online through fake cryptocurrencies and huge profits. The only thing they actually do, however, is take the customers’ money and disappear. It is as simple as that.”
As mentioned, the list of fraudulent crypto businesses and websites that have been identified is not exhaustive and the FSMA has asked potential digital currency investors to contact them should they have “any doubts.” A consumer contact form has been provided so that people can easily obtain information regarding potentially fraudulent crypto-related schemes or websites.
"Detailed And Telling Testimony"
There’s also “detailed and telling testimony” the FSMA has shared so that potential crypto investors may be warned about the various risks associated with investing in digital assets. The testimony reveals how an unsuspecting Belgian investor was scammed out of thousands of euros through a crypto-related fraud.
Given the serious nature of these cryptocurrency scams, the FSMA has launched an “awareness campaign” with the help of the Belgian Federal Public Service (FPS) Economy, an organization focused on the development and sustainability of the nation’s goods and services market.