Belgian regulator updates list of potential cryptocurrency frauds

Rebecca Sachs

flag of belgium on houseA regulator in Belgium has updated a list of possible cryptocurrency scams it maintains that is designed to dissuade investors in the country from placing their cash in the hands of criminals.

As a result of the updates, there are now 113 websites on the blacklist – suggesting that the level of crypto fraud in the country is high and continuing to rise.

In a warning posted on its English language website yesterday, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) said that some customers were continuing to invest in sites which it had warned against.

“Despite its earlier warnings the FSMA continues to receive new complaints of consumers who have invested in cryptocurrencies through these trading platforms”, it said in a statement.

“Hence, the FSMA repeats its warning against the fraudsters behind those platforms who are using cryptocurrencies to swindle consumers. The FSMA has also updated its list of cryptocurrency trading platforms which it has identified signs of fraud. This list now includes a total of 113 websites.”

It also went on to point out certain hallmarks and tactics spotted on the sites of popular crypto scams. These include promises that investing is “easy”, and that it’s possible for someone who isn’t “an expert” to make cash.

“The principle remains the same: they offer you an investment they claim is secure, easy and very lucrative”, the statement read.

“They try to inspire confidence by assuring you that you don’t need to be an expert in cryptocurrencies in order to invest in them. They claim to have specialists who will manage your investments for you.

“You are told that your funds can be withdrawn at any time or that they are guaranteed. In the end, the result is always the same: the victims find themselves unable to recover their money!”, it added.

The list contains a number of impressive and professional looking sites in a variety of languages.

Designs on the sites are often swanky and high-end, creating the appearance of a reputable broker or provider. Some of the sites have since gone down – possibly as a result of being featured on the list.

Many of the sites make a number of promises designed to reassure investors. “An easy-to-use personal wallet will keep your cryptocurrency safe”, reads one such promise. “The chat allows you to chat with a real-time consultant”, says another.

However, in reality, they stand accused by the FSMA of operating suspiciously.

In a stark final notice, the regulator also pointed out that the list was far from exhaustive and that there were potentially more companies operating in the sector which posed threats to security.

“This list of cryptocurrency trading platforms is based solely on the findings of the FSMA, in particular as a result of consumers’ reports”, it said.

“As such, it does not include all the companies which might be operating unlawfully in Belgium in that sector. Should you have any doubts, please do not hesitate to contact the FSMA directly via the consumer contact form on its website.”

Rebecca Sachs

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