The FPS noted the sharp spike in interest towards crypto investments, which they said “causes a lot more people to be scammed.” According to the statement, Belgian investors reported the loss of €2.2 mln ($2.5 mln) in crypto scams to the FPS last year. The FPS said that this is “just the tip of the iceberg” as only 4 percent of crypto fraud cases are reported. Per their estimations, investors in Belgium lose about €130 mln ($152 mln) to scam crypto projects per year.
The website “Too Good to Be True” from FPS Economy and the Federal Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) warns the public about crypto investment risks, stressing that crypto fraudsters usually “promise big profits,” and “often seem reliable.” The website encourages potential crypto investors to carefully check the details of the projects before investing as well as to be “cautious when paying online with cryptocurrencies.”
The website offers a portal with which users can report instances of scammy companies, in addition to a scanner that screens websites for complaints of fraud.
The site claims that “the absence of [a] warning about a company” after checking does not necessarily mean that the crypto project has a “valid license,” and that it may require further consideration. The site says that companies will sometimes change their names in order to avoid appearing on lists of fraudulent or scammy projects.
Last month, the office of Investor Education and Advocacy at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched a fake initial coin offering (ICO) website to increase awareness of the typical warning signs of scam ICOs and to promote investor education. The website of so-called “HowieCoins” included archetypical details of a scam ICO, including a misleading and blurry white paper, guaranteed returns claims, and celebrity endorsements.