Belgium’s Financial Watchdog Adds 28 Sites to Crypto Scam Blacklist

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has added 28 new sites to its crypto-related fraud blacklist, as it reiterates its warnings to consumers.

The FSMA has said that despite its prior risk alerts, the agency continues to receive complaints from consumers swindled by fraudsters capitalizing on the cryptocurrency “hype.” The warning says that scammers are canny enough to lure victims in with easy-seeming profits, but that at this point, “the only thing they actually do […] is take the customers’ money and disappear. It is as simple as that.”

The agency notes that the updated list is not comprehensive, and has been assembled largely as the result of victims’ reports. The warning appeals to the public to come forth with further information about any other crypto-related entities operating unlawfully in Belgium. It also invites readers to consult its prior warning from February 2018, which includes a testimony from one victim of a fraudulent crypto platform that the agency describes as “particularly detailed and telling.”

The FSMA’s efforts to educate investors about the risks associated with cryptocurrency fraud have been preempted by other national regulators and financial security experts.

In May, a government-led study in China outlined what it considered to be the key features of fraudulent digital currency profiles.

And in the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) created a website for a fake Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) with a similar educational goal. The mock HoweyCoins.com lured investors with a “too good to be true investment opportunity” — using the very “red flags” the organization claimed to be present in the majority of fraudulent ICOs — and redirected those who attempted to purchase the ersatz tokens to an educationally-oriented page on the SEC’s own site.

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