Watch out, investment scams! How to spot scammers.
Recently, there has been a massive increase in fraud attempts wherein criminals impersonate employees of financial institutions. Specifically, we are aware of cases of investment fraud in which scammers mimic our website, logo, emails, text messages and social media presence in an attempt to gain your trust.
At this point, we would like to educate you on the details of the scams and provide you with some information that will make it easier for you to recognize criminal activity. Stay alert and protect yourself!
How do the scammers approach potential victims?
- By phone: criminals pose on the phone as employees of banks, brokers, insurance companies or similar institutions to make you investment offers. These calls can be intense, frequent and persuasive. Often, the scammers use the actual real names of real employees and are technically capable of even cloning the correct phone numbers of the respective companies and displaying them in your phone's caller ID.
- Websites: Criminals set up fake websites. They copy the design and content of real companies to lull their victims into a sense of security and verify the authenticity of their offer. The fake sites are often difficult to distinguish from the original.
- Emails: criminals send emails that, at first glance, are indistinguishable from those of the real companies. The layout and content are copied; even the original sender addresses could be cloned. The days when suspicious e-mails could already be recognized by the obligatory spelling mistakes are over.
- Persuasion: investment scammers are very determined, act highly professional and unscrupulous. They will do anything to convince you of your righteousness.
Resist the tempting offers
- The investment opportunities that scammers offer you are invariably very attractive. Therefore, be extra vigilant when promised high returns or enticed with tax-free profits - especially if these offers are obviously not being offered to the general public.
- Do not terminate existing investments, such as pension plans or ISAs, to invest in the supposedly attractive deals.
- Be especially wary of offers based on questionable assets, markets, opaque transactions or cryptocurrencies.
- Do not be pressured. Criminals take advantage of your concern about missing out on a unique offer. They push for a quick decision while flattering you and emphasizing the exclusivity of the offer made to you personally.
- Do not send money or share identity details unless you can confirm beyond doubt that it is a legitimate contact from a regulated, licensed investment firm.
- Check whether the company holds a license issued by the competent authority in the country of its registered office. For Germany, you can check this on the BaFin website
in the company database.
What to do if you fear to have become a victim of fraud?
- If you have given personal data or money to a fraudster, please file a report with your local police station. You can get more detailed information on Internet fraud, for example, on the website of the Bavarian police.
- If you receive an unexpected message purporting to be from Fidor, please be especially careful. Do not pass on any information and do not make any transactions. In particular, check to whom and to which bank you should send funds. Please forward the suspicious email to email@example.com instead. We will review it for you.
- Do not trust emails, websites, social media presences, SMS, text messages or any other type of electronic or phone contact unless you have verified that it is legitimate. If you have any doubts, check with the appropriate public agencies and contact your bank.
- If you have any concerns about transferring a large sum of money for the first time to a recipient you do not know personally, contact your bank and ask for assistance.
- The German regulator Bafin is specifically asking for reports of investment offers made via unsolicited phone calls. Contact details are available on BaFin's website.
What we do to protect and support you
Fidor Bank has secure procedures for transferring funds to and from bank accounts that verify the identity of our customers - and the bank. We recommend investors seek professional advice before making investment decisions. If necessary, check the offer in consultation with other financial institutions with which you are already a customer, or take it to your local consumer advice center.
We are required to report attempted fraud, in accordance with the German Money Laundering Act, to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the central office for financial transaction investigations and suspicious activity reports.
Below we have compiled some links for you. Here you will find further information on the criminals' latest scams:
BaFin - How to detect investment scams
BaFin - Current information for consumers
If you are aware of potentially fraudulent activity where you believe someone may be impersonating Fidor Bank, any information you provide may be useful to us. These details support our own investigations and reporting to regulators. They can provide evidence to help us block fake websites, email domains and social media accounts. Please send an email with any suspicious communications you have received as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately, we will not be able to share the results of the investigation with you.
For more information, please visit the Fidor Security page.