Belgium's Financial Watchdog Updates Crypto Scam Blacklist to Total 113 Sites

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has updated its crypto-related fraud blacklist to include a new total of 113 sites, in a fresh alert posted Dec. 18.

The authority states that “despite” its prior warnings, it continues to receive complaints from defrauded investors. The newly added platforms are all allegedly run by “fraudsters [...] who are using cryptocurrencies to swindle consumers,” with the FSMA starkly reiterating:

“The principle remains the same: they offer you an investment they claim is secure, easy and very lucrative [...] They claim to have specialists who will manage your investments for you. You are told that your funds can be withdrawn at any time [...] In the end, the result is always the same: the victims find themselves unable to recover their money!”

The agency notes that the updated list is not comprehensive, and has been assembled in particular based upon victims’ reports. The warning appeals to the public to come forth with any doubts about other possibly suspect crypto-related entities operating unlawfully in Belgium.

The FSMA further advises readers to consult its prior warnings dated February 22, 2018 and October 26, 2018 to better understand the nature of such frauds. As previously reported, the FSMA included a new swathe of 28 apparently fraudulent sites this September.

Belgium’s FSMA joins global regulators and government agencies in trying to protect investors through education. This May, a Chinese government-led study detected 421 fake cryptocurrencies, isolating three key features of fraudulent digital currency profiles.

Also this spring, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) created a website for a fake initial coin offering (ICO) that lured visitors with a “too good to be true investment opportunity.” The mock website implemented the main “red flags” the agency claimed to have identified in the majority of fraudulent ICOs — and redirected anyone who attempted to purchase the ersatz tokens to an educationally-oriented page on the SEC’s own site.