Abusive offer of financial services and products: how to defend yourself against scams

Give her online trading offers done over the phone advertising banners that offer easy earnings, it happens more and more often to run into scams capable of putting their savings at serious risk. Only in the last few days Consob ordered the blackout of 4 new ones websites that illegally offer financial services/products. These are 3 abusive financial brokerage sites and a site through which an offer of financial products is carried out in the absence of a prospectus. The Authority made use of the powers deriving from the “growth decree” (law no. 58 of 28 June 2019, article 36, paragraph 2-terdecies), relating to the blackout of the websites of abusive financial intermediaries, as well as the power introduced by the law no. 8 of 28 February 2020, article 4, paragraph 3-bis, regarding the blackout of the site through which the abusive offer is put in place.

Sites blocked by Consob

The latest sites blocked by Consob are: “Global News”, “Tredouxcapitalltd247”, MarkersFin Limited and Profitexpertsinc Ltd. Sale, thus, 894 the number of Sites blacked out overall by Consob starting from July 2019, since the Authority was endowed with the power to order the blacking out of the websites of abusive financial intermediaries. The blackout activities of the sites by the internet connectivity providers operating on the Italian territory are underway. For technical reasons, the actual blackout may take a few days.

How to protect yourself from scams

In this scenario, Consob draws savers’ attention to the importance of use the utmost diligence in order to make investment choices in full awareness, adopting common sense behaviors, essential for safeguarding one’s savings: among these, the preventive verificationfor sites that offer financial services, that the operator through which you invest is authorised and, for offers of financial products, that the prospectus has been published.

Check if the subject is authorized

If you come into contact with or come across a website of a subject that offers you online trading (e.g. on binary options and/or forex operations) it is necessary – underlines Consob – to verify that it is authorised. With permission the subject comes entered in the SIM list held by Consob. The list of authorized subjects is present on the site of the Commission. On the Consob website it is also possible to consult the list of EU investment firms operating in Italy: with branch; under the freedom to provide services, i.e. without a branch; and, following Brexit, it is also possible to consult the additional lists of investment firms from third countries (with and without branches) authorized to operate in Italy, as well as Imprese UK – other than “passport” banks in Italy – no longer authorized to operate in Italy from 1/1/2021.

Check if the subject has already been reported

By consulting the section “Notices to Savers” of the Consob website, it is possible to verify whether Consob has published a warning and/or has adopted a provision with which he orders the cessation of the activity carried out through a website. A further step consists in consulting the “Warning and publications for investors” section of theESMA (European Consob) and verify if, in relation to the subject you came across, other European authorities equivalents to Consob, have published a warning. Finally, in the “Investor protection – investor alerts portal” section of the Iosco it is possible to verify whether other world authorities similar to Consob have published a warning against the subject in question. It is important to remember – highlights Consob – that companies not registered in the lists kept by Consob are not authorized investment companies. Furthermore, if the company is not found in the communications to protect savers (“Notices to savers”), it could still be a company that is offering investment services without the required authorisations, but against which measures have not yet been taken.

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