The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned the public to be wary of the fake website impersonating Pepperstone. The regulator says it has received some requests from the investing public asking if the entity is genuine or a phony website created to lure the unsuspecting public.
The counterfeit website is one of the most recent in a series of warnings which the financial authority has alerted people about. According to the FCA’s statement, the fake broker hides behind the spurious brand called ‘pepperforeign’ and operates under the same name. This is done to confuse traders and investors who might mistake it for the legally recognized pepperstone they are doing business with.
FCA Warns Investors Against Clone Firms
FCA posted the warning on its site stating that the clone business is a fraudster hiding under Pepperstone to request money from the unsuspecting public. The spurious site is using the name https://m.pepperforeign.com. This led the authorities to take immediate action to bring down the suspects.
The fake broker site is trying to misinform traders and investors of its spurious claim of providing genuine services using the information of a legitimate company that operates with Pepperstone. Besides, the scammers claimed the FCA is regulating their business. They are also using the same address on Pepperstone’s website, thereby attracting intending investors’ attention and patronage.
This is not the first of such fraudulent schemes. There have been reports of unregistered entities springing up without license impersonating licensed companies to lure traders and investors to doing business with them. The fake Pepperforeign stated that it has an office in Germany. Pepperstone recently launched a new branch in Germany late last year after being licensed by its regulatory authorities. The FCA had earlier warned the public to be on the alert for some attacks being perpetrated by some fake websites.
Investors Lost Nearly £80 Million in 2020
According to the FCA, latest reports show that investors lost about £80 million to fraud and attacks last year. In the same year, the average an unsuspecting victim lost to scammers that pretended to be a genuine trading firm was £45,000. The regulator added that the latest global economic meltdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic probably propelled people to be vulnerable to such clone sites. The scams target both beginners and experienced investors. One out of three persons interviewed reported that they could easily spot a clone site or fraudulent scheme. But 76% said they fell for the scam because they did not recognize a cloned site.
Clone sites refer to phony sites or companies founded by tricksters hiding under legitimate firms’ names and identities licensed by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. After establishing the phony company, the scammers will start sending documents or links to unsuspecting recipients to defraud them. Hence, the regulatory authority has reminded people to go through the Warning List of companies listed as scams in the FCA directories and shun unlicensed firms. They also advised intending investors to carefully verify the name, contacts, and the website of any company they want to do business with.