Virtual money investments

You have invested money in a crypto-currency, but when you ask to get money back from your investment your financial advisor does not respond to you. You are a victim of an investment fraud!

Description of the fraud

An investment bureau reaches out to you about a new crypto-currency. The representative explains that the returns are excellent for this investment and that you’ll get back a 100% return by the next trimester. Without reflecting on the offer, you invest in this apparently promising currency. One month later, you receive an email explaining that you have already gotten back a 50% gain on your returns, but that you have to pay taxes before you can receive it. After a period of time you ask your advisor to close your dossier so you can receive your funds. However, you receive either no more news from your advisor or only evasive responses: You are a victim of fraud.

How to avoid this fraud

  • If the representative says that you must pay first before anything, be cautious
  • Spot investment opportunities that are too promising: high returns, quick profit
  • Check the Register of Certified Financial Agents and the Register for Insurance, Bank, and Financial Intermediaries (registre des agents financiers agréés et registre unique des intermédiaires en assurance, banque et finance) to ensure that this representative is authorized to offer such services
  • Consult the black lists of the Autorité des marches financiers (AMF)
  • Consult Internet forums to know other consumers’ opinions
  • Identify false investment websites by their appearances: if there the Terms and Conditions is short or non-existent, or the language is unprofessional or even broken (with spelling or grammar mistakes), be wary

What to do once trapped by this fraud

  • If you live in France, the website or financial establishment is referenced on the REGAFI (Registre des agents financiers, or Register of Financial Agents) or ORIAS (Registre unique des intermédiaires en assurance, banque, et finance, or Register of Insurance, Bank, and Financial Intermediaries), you can contact the AMF to report this actions. The AMF maintains the right and the means to check and sanction registered businesses that do not conform to the required obligations. For help in your individual case, you can call on the Mediator of the AMF, a service dedicated to helping individuals reach an amical solution with a certain business  
  • If the website or financial establishment is not referenced on the REGAFI or ORIAS, or it is found on the black lists of the AMF, its activity is considered illegal, even fraudulent. It is advised to file a complaint or to call on the parquet (Public Prosecutor) so that a police investigation is opened to find the creators of these websites and hold them responsible

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.