Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain – 27 June 2019 – The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) would like to warn the financial services community and members of the public of a scam in which the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and its officers have been impersonated.
This warning comes in line with the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU) concerning consultation and cooperation and the exchange of information to which the CBB and the CySEC are both signatories. This follows a number of noted incidents, brought to the attention of CySEC, of scammers soliciting investors for fees in exchange for settlement of fraudulent compensation claims related to the business activities of a number of firms under CySEC’s supervision. A sophisticated online campaign targeting investors is used as part of the scam which typically involves:
- individuals claiming to be CySEC officers, appointed representatives of CySEC (e.g. legal advisors), other Cypriot supervisory authorities (e.g. the Central Bank of Cyprus) and/or bank representatives appointed by CySEC contacting investors that are clients of regulated entities under CySEC’s supervision. Contact is often via emails which appear to be genuine – they carry the name, address, official stamp and logo of CySEC and fraudulently copy CySEC officials’ signature;
- false promises being made to assist investors with compensation for potential damages in connection with dealings they have had with sanctioned firms (typically online trading firms offering speculative investment products);
- soliciting personal information from investors including telephone records; and
- in some cases, calling investors via telephone in relation to email correspondence concerning the fraudulent scam.
CySEC has stated in its own warnings and alerts, that it never sends unsolicited correspondence to investors or members of the public, and:
- does not request any personal data, financial or otherwise;
- has no authority or jurisdiction to collect fees for any purpose from individual investors, nor does it have authority to appoint anyone to do so on its behalf; and
- does not authorise, verify, monitor, or is in any way involved in class actions, and compensation.
By way of example, a recent case that came to the attention of the CySEC involved correspondence in which an individual using the name “Christos Sofroniou” attempted to convince recipients to pay legal fees to participate in fake aid programs for recovery of losses they might have suffered. As part of the correspondence, the CySEC logo was fraudulently used without authority. The individual used the electronic address firstname.lastname@example.org and the telephone numbers +35725654263, +35799711917.
The CBB urges the public to ensure the utmost care, caution and vigilance in the face of any unsolicited communication from anyone falsely claiming to represent the CySEC, and under no circumstances should you send any money to such individuals in connection with any scams. Further, in the event of receipt of such suspicious correspondences, investors are strongly advised to contact CySEC to confirm the authenticity of any unsolicited communication by email at email@example.com.