Daily fraud update: 13th February

Chris Lee

UK regulator warns traders against “clone fraud” 

A major financial regulator in the UK has warned traders to be careful after a case of suspected “clone fraud” was noticed in the markets.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that a fake firm called “ATUK” had been spotted, and that it was believed to be mimicking the legitimate company AT Global Markets (UK) Limited.

ATUK is understood to have attempted to copy the name and other key markers of the AT Global Markets brand, which is a forex broker.

It is understood to have linked to the FCA’s site in an attempt to bolster its claim that it was the genuine firm.

It also added the license numbers of the real firm as part of its attempts to appear legitimate.

The correct URL for the legitimate firm is atfx.com/uk, and this is not associated with the fake brand’s URL – which is atfx-uk.com.

The FCA emphasised that the authentic, authorised firm’s reference number was 760555 and that its address was actually 32 Cornhill, London, EC3V 3SG.

This stood in contrast to the supposed address of the fake firm, which was Unit G25 Waterfront, Studios 1 Dock Road, London.

Clone fraud, as this sort of scam is often known, is believed to be on the rise.

In a statement, the regulator advised that there may be an association between this sort of fraud and “cold calling”.

“This is what we call a ‘clone firm’; and fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been cold called”, it said.

“They may use the name of the genuine firm, the ‘firm reference number’ (FRN) we have given the authorised firm or other details”, it added.

The FCA also encouraged people to only use registered firms.

“We strongly advise you to only deal with financial firms that are authorised by us, and check the Financial Services Register to ensure they are”, it said.

“It has information on firms and individuals that are, or have been, regulated by us.”

Major economist lashes out at crypto

A leading economist has made headlines after describing cryptocurrencies as primarily being for “enabling scams”.

Professor Steve Hanke, who works at Johns Hopkins University in the US state of Maryland, is a well-known critic of crypto.

He recently took to the social media site Twitter to lash out against cryptocurrencies again.

The economist shared an article from the financial newspaper The Wall Street Journal which focused in particular on crypto scams.

“Cryptocurrencies are only good at one thing: enabling scams and theft”, he wrote.

“Cryptos are unsafe, unreliable, and unstable.”

“These highly-speculative ‘assets’ have a long way to go until they are ready to be called real currencies”, he added.

Back in 2018, Hanke described the purchasing of bitcoin as “a fool’s game”.


Chris Lee

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