Belgium’s financial watchdog has reported that scammers stole up to $12 million using fraudulent ads from investors in the country.
The watchdog estimated in an Oct. 5 warning from the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) that investors in Belgium had lost at least 10 million euros to fraudulent platforms, including those dealing with cryptocurrencies, between May 2019 and September 2020, approximately $11.8 million at the time of writing. The FSMA reported that victims were scammed by such platforms using fake social media ads featuring celebrity images, directing them to provide bad actors with information.
“These platforms often use very aggressive methods to try to persuade you to. Invest ever larger sums,” the financial watchdog stated. “They will also try to persuade you to let them take control of your computer remotely so as to be able to make certain payments.”
Scammers’ techniques for investors in Belgium include contacting individuals by phone after being persuaded to give up their contact details and offering to manage their assets. Fraudsters dangle “high yield promises or even guaranteed returns.”
Although the FSMA ‘s estimate also included fraudulent platforms offering investment in binary options, products on the foreign exchange market. And contracts for differences, the number of cases of crypto fraud across Belgium may increase.
Cointelegraph reported in May that $3.2 million in losses due to cryptocurrency fraud in 2019. Were reported by Belgium ‘s economic inspectorate. The year before that, the Federal Public Service of the country reported $2.5 million in crypto scam losses.
Preventive measures to address the problem have been taken by the Belgian authorities. In February, over 140 crypto-related fraudulent websites were blacklisted by the FSMA. The FPS estimated, however, that investors in Belgium typically lose about $152 million each year to such scams. With most incidents remaining unreported.