After Forex, binary options and diamonds, have some scammers switched to crypto-assets or “cryptocurrencies”? The testimonials received by our AMF Epargne Info Service platform suggest this. Be vigilant.
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, etc. it’s hard not to have heard of these new virtual currencies that are often also called, wrongly, cryptocurrencies, since they are not guaranteed by the authorities.
The enthusiasm generated by these new assets has led some players, not always trustworthy, to offer savers to invest in them.
No serious company can guarantee a minimum return with an investment in “cryptocurrencies” or “crypto-assets”.
Faced with speeches too good to be true, promising guaranteed high returns, there is only one piece of advice: stay away. By thinking of speculating on the rise of Bitcoin and other “crypto-currencies”, you risk losing your entire bet. The point to know more. Scams in “crypto-currencies”, what are we talking about?
To be able to offer you to buy/sell crypto-currencies, or for crypto-asset custody services, your intermediary must be registered with the AMF. You will be able to view the whitelist of digital asset service providers authorized to offer these services. In addition, all digital asset service providers, including those offering the purchase/sale and custody of crypto-assets, may apply for an optional authorisation from the AMF. To avoid scams, choose registered and authorized interlocutors.
Trading on derivatives, such as CFDs (“contracts for difference”) on “cryptocurrencies”: to be legal, this service must be offered by platforms with the status of investment service providers (ISPs). So check that your intermediary has the necessary authorizations to carry out this activity legally. In case of doubt, contact our AMF Epargne Info Service platform on 01 53 45 62 00. Namely: since August 1, 2018, the marketing of CFDs on crypto-assets, with individuals, is limited to a leverage of 2.
Focus: in the event of a dispute, what recourse?
If the platform legally carries out its activity, the AMF mediation may intervene to try to resolve your dispute amicably. On the other hand, with an illegal platform, your only recourse will be to file a complaint with the police or gendarmerie. Unfortunately, in this case, the chances of getting your money back are very limited as scammers are most often based abroad. How to recognize a scam?
It is not always very easy to distinguish between fraudulent and non-fraudulent platforms. Nevertheless, there are some signs that should alert you. A well-honed speech…
Scammers resort to well-known techniques. They contact their future victim by email or phone, after the latter has left his details on a site offering to invest in “crypto-currencies”.
First of all, they show great kindness and seek to establish a climate of trust. Their discourse is always very elaborate. They insist on the recent rise of “crypto-currencies”, especially Bitcoin, and promise a 2.0 currency with very attractive returns.
To seem even more serious, some offer online training (e.g. Bitcoin trading). We had already seen this with Forex scams…… which leaves room for disillusionment!
The scam is confirmed when you are unable to recover your funds. It is then too late! Your interlocutors are unreachable or find different pretexts not to return your money (amount blocked for a minimum period, technical problem …). In some cases, they even encourage you to make other payments (tax payments, etc.). Warning signs
- The absence of legal notices on the site.
- Even in the presence of legal notices, be careful: many claim to have their headquarters abroad or indicate addresses in France which, when they exist, are only post office boxes.
- Contact details of banks that you have trouble identifying.
If you have any doubts, contact AMF Epargne Info Service on 01 53 45 62 00 or Assurance Banque Epargne Info Service at 34 14.
Focus: scammed, they testify!
AMF Epargne Info Service is receiving more and more testimonials from people who, having thought they were buying or investing in “crypto-currencies”, such as Bitcoin, have actually been scammed.
Mr. C. has registered on a platform for buying and selling “crypto-currencies”. Curious, he decided to invest 1,000 euros. Contacted in the middle of the night, he was offered to take a position that could bring him big, but he had to decide in the moment and pay 10,000 euros. Mr. C. could not release this sum immediately, the platform advanced him the money. The next day an “advisor” called him back to tell him that he had just won 100,000 euros! But, due to the cash advance granted by the platform, he had to share 50% of his gain with it and therefore pay her 50,000 euros to recover the sum.
Fortunately, the importance of the gain aroused the saver’s distrust and he refused to give them the money. Mr. C. lost 1,000 euros, but narrowly avoided losing 50,000 more!
Mrs. A. thought to buy “crypto-currencies”. After a first payment, she was regularly contacted by the platform to encourage her to invest more and more, for a total amount of 53,000 euros paid. As soon as she asked to recover her funds, no one answered the phone, claiming that her “manager” was in a meeting, on vacation or on sick leave.
Filing a complaint is now the only solution available to her.
Mr. V. invested 70,000 euros on a platform of “crypto-currencies”. The AMF’s alerts on this subject have prompted him to be suspicious. He therefore wished to recover his funds. To do this, the platform demanded payment of various taxes to which he was supposedly subject. However, the latter were fictitious or did not concern Mr V., and therefore constituted an additional reason to doubt the reliability of the site. Here too, the filing of a complaint is the only solution available to him.