More and more Belgian investors are falling victim to online scams. Since the start of the year, almost 10.89 million euros have already been taken by fraudsters from unsuspecting Belgian investors on online trading platforms. Or 1.21 million euros each month.
And that would only be the “tip of the iceberg”with many frauds going unreported.
Faced with this observation, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has decided to launch an awareness campaign with Wikifin, its financial education program, from this Monday, October 2 until November 12.
17,314 euros per victim
If more and more Belgians are turning to online investment platforms, “They can sometimes get lost in their research and fall into the net of well-organized fraudsters”points out the FSMA.
Since the start of 2023, the Authority has already received 1,403 reports of fraudulent practices (i.e. on average 5 per day). This is a quarter more compared to the same period last year.
On average, victims are defrauded of 17,314 euros. Significant harm and “particularly lucrative activity for fraudsters”estimates the FSMA.
More and more cunning fraudsters
Thanks to investigations, 172 fraudulent entities have already been identified this year.
“These are more and more often well-organized groups that behave like real companies, with call centers, graphic designers, managers, etc. They are often active on an international level”warns the Financial Services and Markets Authority.
In order to avoid pitfalls, the FSMA is therefore launching a major online awareness campaign starting this Monday: “Don’t let yourself be trapped by investment fraud”. And gives his practical advice to avoid scammers.
A campaign aimed at all age groups. So, if the figures show that it is Belgians aged 40 to 70 who are most often victims of online fraud – “which is explained in particular by the fact that they generally have more financial resources” – young people aged 20-30 can also fall into the trap, notes the FSMA.
“Online fraudsters are particularly inventive and use all kinds of means, often professional, to deceive their victims and gain their trust. By email or telephone, via false advertisements on social networks, etc..”indicates Jean-Paul Servais, president of the FSMA.
Among the advice given by the Authority: always check the identity of the provider, the FSMA publishes lists of companies authorized to offer financial products and services. Even if you think you know the supplier, verify their identity several times (via contact details, etc.), as scammers often use the name of a well-known company. Do not pay money into a foreign account, be critical of each offer: if an offer seems too good to be true, it is probably a scam. Finally, when in doubt, contact the FSMA ( www.fsma.be).