A large increase in the number of financial frauds in Belgium
The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), which regulates the Belgian financial markets, reported that the number of financial frauds in the first half of 2021 increased by 60% compared to last year.
From January to June this year, the regulator received 1,087 questions and reports from consumers regarding fraudulent and illegal offers of financial products and services. 40% of all complaints were related to fraudulent online marketplaces, while 20% and 10% were related to other investment and credit card fraud, respectively.
EUR 42 million in losses over 2 years
The regulator reported that the number of rogue online platforms that offer trading in binary options, CFDs or Forex, and cryptocurrencies continues to grow. One of the characteristics of such platforms is that they attract consumers through fake social media ads.
In addition, it was specified that scammers used photos of French-speaking celebrities to run campaigns on social media to trap unsuspecting investors. The number of app scams that make offers related to virtual currencies or training has also increased. According to the FSMA, victims of financial fraud lost at least EUR 42 million between May 2019 and June 2021. This happened when FSMA actively monitored the markets, signalled dubious platforms and issued public warnings.
FSMA raises investor awareness
Belgium is one of the few countries that prohibits the retail sale and distribution of over-the-counter Forex, CFDs and cryptocurrency derivatives. However, many platforms still manage to offer services to Belgian nationals.
The regulator recently raised the alarm against various companies that offer trading software. It also launched several digital campaigns on various social media channels to alert investors to financial fraud. – Various FSMA campaigns have helped raise consumer awareness of the risk of fraud. The regulator said that more and more victims know that the FSMA should be automatically alerted if they suspect they have fallen victim to fraud.