The Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) makes an urgent warning about “authority scams” – a type of fraud which is currently occurring particularly frequently. In this type of fraud, fraudsters pose as apparent employees of the FMA or other public institutions, and frequently use forged correspondence to entice victims to divulge personal details or make payments. It is possible to check whether an official document or communication that has been digitally signed is actually genuine at any time, by checking the the electronic digital signature that every digital communication from an authority is required to contain.
“Beware: the FMA will never ask you to divulge sensitive banking details like your account number, your PIN or password, or to transfer money, and it also does not release transactions,” the FMA’s Executive Directors, Helmut Ettl and Eduard Müller stated. “If you are in any doubt whatsoever, please contact the FMA’s consumer information team by telephone on (+43 1) 249 59-3444 or online, and check whether contact being established is to be treated seriously as well as how you should proceed further.”
Verifying whether a communication that has been signed using an electronic official signature is genuine.
Anyone can perform a simple check to verify whether an official document or communication is actually genuine: Such communications are required to carry an electronic official signature that bears the authority’s electronic blip. The electronic signature can be used to check whether a document is genuine or forged.
Simply upload the document using the link www.signaturpruefung.gv.at (which is a central verification service operated by the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (RTR; Rundfunk und Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH)) and the document’s authenticity will then be verified electronically immediately. You can also find information about how to verify its authenticity in the signature block next to the official signature blip.
Communications received in paper form with an electronic official signature can not be verified using www.signaturpruefung.gv.at, even if the communication has been scanned. You can verify such communications by submitting a scanned copy of the communication
- via the FMA’s electronic postbox using the Supplementary Register for Others registration number (ERsB-Ordnungsnummer) 9110020375710 or the designation “Finanzmarktaufsichtsbehörde” or by sending it using the e-Mail form on the FMA website on the page about the Official Signature (https://www.fma.gv.at/en/official-signature-blip/).
Or by sending a copy
- by fax to the FMA on +43 (0)1 249 59 5499,
- or by post to the FMA (Otto-Wagner-Platz 5, 1090 Vienna),
- or by personal delivery to the FMA’s Reception at this address.
Verification of an individual communication in this way takes one to two weeks.
Useful information for protecting yourself against scammers
The types of scam always follow the same patterns. For example, utmost caution must be taken when you are asked to provide personal data, as well as when you receive unsolicited phone calls, and if you are placed under any form of disproportionately high pressure. There is a checklist of tell-tale warning signals on the FMA website.
Further information can be found at:
https://www.watchlist-internet.at/ (in German only)
Journalists may address further enquiries to:
+43/(0)676 88 249 516