Belgian Regulator Blacklists Another 9 Crypto Websites Suspected of Fraud

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has made an additional update to its blacklist of cryptocurrency-related websites associated with fraud.

On Oct. 29, Belgium’s financial watchdog updated its list of cryptocurrency trading platforms for which it has detected indications of fraud, by adding nine new suspect sites, bringing the total of suspected crypto scams to 131.

The financial authority said that it continued to receive new complaints from consumers who made crypto investments on those trading platforms, adding that cryptocurrency fraud continues to find new victims in Belgium, despite prior warnings.

The FSMA has issued previous warnings to Belgian crypto investors to be wary of companies that claim to hold authorizations from supervisory authorities, adding:

“This is a very frequently used technique. However, these are often cases of identity theft. Feel free to ask the FSMA to confirm the information you have received.”

Many of the blacklisted crypto firms purportedly offer financial services without complying with Belgian financial legislation. However, most of these crypto firms mentioned in the list operate outside the jurisdiction of the FSMA, which makes it near impossible for the agency to legally charge them. 

Although the FSMA cannot charge the suspected websites of fraud, an alert could still minimize the risks for potential cryptocurrency investors.

The FSMA added that the blacklist is based solely on the findings of the authority and warns that it does not include all of the crypto companies that might be operating illegally in Belgium.

Raising awareness of risks associated with crypto investment

In June 2018, the Belgian financial authority FPS Economy (FPS) launched a website to raise awareness of the risks associated with cryptocurrency investments. Belgian investors reportedly lost about $2.5 million in crypto scams in 2017, which accounts for only 4% of overall crypto fraud cases, with the total losses estimated at $152 million.