The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has published a warning on its website this Thursday, cautioning against a collection of what it believes to be boiler room scams, and, at the very least, are entities operating unlawfully in Belgium.
In particular, the regulator has warned against the following entities:
- ABConseils-patrimoine.com (www.abconseils-patrimoine.com, currently inactive);
- Takahashi and Partners (https://takahashipartners.com/);
- Tan Allen Piguet Asset Management (https://www.tapam.com/).
According to the FSMA, these companies are not allowed to offer investment services in or from Belgium. Therefore, the authority strongly advises residents to not respond to any offers of financial services made by these companies. Furthermore, the watchdog warns against transferring money to any account number they might mention.
“According to the information available to the FSMA, it seems that the companies may be ‘boiler rooms’. ‘Boiler room’ fraud involves contacting consumers, usually unsolicited and often by telephone, offering to sell them shares or other financial products. In recent times, the services offered have become more varied,” the regulator explained in its statement today.
“Thus, portfolio management services, term deposit accounts, investment advice, investments in crowdfunding projects, etc., have been offered. Although the ‘boiler rooms’ often claim to be authorized service providers with a professional website and forms to fill out, they are in reality swindlers who offer fictitious or worthless services.”
FSMA: signs to watch out for
In particular, the FSMA asks consumers to be wary of cold calling, that is, getting unsolicited offers from alleged trading or financial companies. The regulator also points out that consumers should be wary of transferring money to bank accounts that are outside of Belgium.
Not only that, but the FSMA said that individuals should be skeptical when promised completely disproportionate returns. “Fraudsters often make it seem from the outset as if the investment has earned substantial returns. Things only begin to go wrong when the investor asks to withdraw his or her money,” the FSMA said.