Belgians lost at least 15.5m euros to online investment fraud last year

The financial regulatory agency FSMA received a record number of reports from Belgian citizens about investment fraud and irregular investment activities in 2023. It registered 2,170 such reports last year, up from 1,918 in 2021, the previous record year, according to the regulator's annual report.

The most common type of investment fraud, accounting for 40 per cent of cases, is fake online investment platforms. According to the reports, victims transferred 15.5 million euros to these platforms, at an average of 15,896 euros per victim.

"This type of scam always follows the same pattern. Consumers read fake press articles on social media where celebrities claim to have become rich by investing in virtual coins. In reality, the identities of these celebrities are being misused," says the FSMA.

"Once consumers enter their contact details, they receive an invitation to invest in derivatives or cryptocurrencies. Later, these investments turn out to be purely fictitious and consumers are unable to recover the money they have deposited."

Since May 2019, victims in Belgium have reported a total loss of almost 82 million euros to these scams.

The FSMA issued 256 warnings last year, concerning 313 fraudulent websites. On the basis of the files forwarded by the FSMA to the public prosecutor's office, the Belgian judicial authorities blocked access to 278 fraudulent websites.




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