Look out for traps: beware of these fraudulent trading platforms

May 16th '24

The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) is once again drawing the public’s attention to the phenomenon of fraudulent trading platforms and their dangers. These platforms are all over the internet, trying to lure investors with promises of quick and easy earnings. However, behind these tantalizing offers, there are often sophisticated scams that can lead to significant losses.


How does a fraudulent trading platform work? (flowchart)


  1. Modes of contact: Fraudsters use various techniques to contact their victims: a fake news article that mentions a celebrity, online advertisements, a fake account on social media, a dating app or even a “lost” message. In each case, the platform attracts investors by promising them very high returns in a short time, often well beyond the sorts of gains that are realistic.
  2. Registration: Interested investors register on the platform and deposit funds to their trading account. Most of the time, investors begin with a relatively small sum (e.g. €250). In some cases, the swindlers offer to help victims by taking over their computer remotely in order to make certain transfers on their behalf, which also allows them to use viruses and spyware, for example.
  3. Manipulation and pressure tactics: Once the funds have been deposited by the victim, the platform will manipulate the transactions to give the impression of significant profits. These earnings are fictitious, and the funds have not really been invested. The fraudsters then put pressure on their victims to invest more and more money (repeated phone calls, time-limited offers, threats, etc.).
  4. Withdrawals are impossible: An initial withdrawal of a small amount is sometimes possible, thereby giving victims more confidence. However, once an investor wishes to withdraw a larger amount, the fraudsters use various pretexts not to make it possible (high costs, taxes owing, etc.). In the end, the fraudulent platform disappears, taking with it all the investors’ money.


FSMA is warning today against different websites that have recently appeared:


The FSMA notes that the following websites were putting consumers in touch with fraudulent trading platforms:



The FSMA strongly advises against responding to any offers made by the following trading platforms:



I’ve fallen victim. What should I do? 

  1. Stop making any transactions and break off all contact with the platform: Do not deposit any more money and do not provide any additional personal or financial information. Break off all contact with the fraudsters. They may try to manipulate you in order to take even more money from you.
  2. Contact your bank: Inform your bank immediately if you have made any payments to the fraudulent platform.
  3. Report the fraud to the competent authorities: Contact FSMA and file a complaint with the police.
  4. Document all the messages and transactions: Gather together all the evidence of communications with the platform, including emails, messages, account statements and screen captures of transactions. These items will be valuable when you report the fraud.
  5. Beware of ‘recovery rooms’: The latter is a practice that consists of contacting people who have been victims of a scam in the past and offering them services that will supposedly recover your lost money, for a fee. Often, these constitute yet another case of fraud.


For more information, please consult the ‘How to recognize and avoid fraud‘ page on the FSMA website. The site provides additional tips to help you avoid investment fraud. Please watch our awareness-raising videos as well (available in French and Dutch only).


Source: FSMA


About FSMA

FSMA strives to ensure the honest and equitable treatment of financial consumers and the integrity of the financial markets. The FSMA, alongside the National Bank of Belgium (NBB), supervises the Belgian financial sector. 


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