The Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) warns about fraudsters who pretend to be FMA employees. They contact people via e-mail or over the telephone, claiming to have information about a failed investment by the person that they are contacting with an unlicenced company, and that they should be refunded the money that they have been defrauded of. In individual cases, the reference is made to or an enquiry made about the contacted person’s “forex or crypto-currency accounts”. Subsequently the fake FMA employee asks the person contract to submit a copy of an identity document or passport by post or electronically in order to be able to recover the investment. The victim’s account data is requested, and they are asked to transfer a sum of money as a processing fee, to cover costs or bank charges into an given account, which as a rule is held at a foreign bank.
In most cases the fraudster claimed to be an FMA employee called “Denis Miller” and used the following contact information:
- email@example.com as well as the telephone numbers +49 6991150111 or +46 152 50 14 06
The fraudsters has also claimed to apparently be an employee of the British supervisor, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and used the following contract details:
- firstname.lastname@example.org and the telephone number +43 1 5555797
Phishing and/or advance payment fraud
The fraudsters use such methods to attempt to tease out account details and copies of identity documents from their victims (phishing), which they then use to conduct fraudulent transactions. Otherwise there is “advance payment fraud”, where it is demanded that a charge (taxes, transaction fees, bank charges or similar) should be paid in advance, in order to be able to transfer an apparently larger sum of money (a fictitious lottery win, an inheritance or money from a failed investment or similar). The fraudsters cash the charge, and the promised money naturally never materialises for the victim.
The FMA has already reported this issue to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Anyone who is contacted in such a manner is requested to inform the FMA immediately. Under no circumstances should any kinds of payment be made, and under no circumstances should you volunteer your information such as account details or send copies of identity documents. Where information has already been submitted or money transferred, you should immediately report the incident to the police as well as the Public Prosecutor’s Office, so that they can intervene with penal means and can protect other persons from losses.
Further information about financial and investment fraud issues can be found on the FMA website by following the link https://www.fma.gv.at/en/spotting-financial-fraudsters/. From there you can also easily reach the database of investor warnings published by the FMA, which warn about dubious providers, who have engaged in activities in the Austrian market. In addition, the FMA also recommends downloading the “FMA-Sicherheits-App” (available for download in the Google Play Store as well as in the iTunes Store)onto your phone, so that you receive all current investor warnings without delay.
Journalists may address further enquiries to:
Klaus Grubelnik (FMA Media Spokesperson)
+43/(0)676/882 49 516