In response to a large number of reports from retail investors, theAutorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) is calling for the utmost vigilancewith regard to off ers to invest in the securiti es of listed large companies,whether foreign or French, at a price below their offi cial price, byunauthorised actors or those impersonati ng regulated enti ti es.
According to the reports collected by the AMF Epargne Info Service platf orm, retailinvestors are contacted generally by e-mail or telephone, aft er leaving their details onInternet contact forms. These fraudulent off ers to buy shares in listed companies, forexample US technology stocks or French stocks that are well known to the general public,are most oft en based on impersonati ons of European fi nancial or payment insti tuti ons andcan be presented in the form of „savings accounts“.
Retail investors receive investment proposals, for example, in a „GAFA savings account withguaranteed capital and indexati on on the performance of Google Amazon Facebook Appleshares“, or a „Tesla Apple Facebook savings account“, „diversifi ed savings accounts“ basedon shares of companies that are someti mes not even listed, fake „share purchase contracts“or „high frequency trading“ (HFT) savings accounts. Fake intermediaries also off er to buyFrançaise des Jeux (FDJ) shares at an allegedly discounted price. The AMF had alreadywarned the public about these fraudulent proposals to buy FDJ shares in November 2019.
There is actually no acquisiti on of shares behind these fraudulent off ers. Once they make thetransfers, the victi ms are unable to contact the fake advisors or to get their money back.
Since the spring of 2021, the AMF has received several hundred requests from retailinvestors concerning this type of investment proposal and more than a hundred complaintsand reports. Investors who contacted the AMF aft er taking out such fraudulent off ersreported high losses, with an average loss of €55,000.
The AMF reminds retail investors that investment advice and the subscripti on of shares onbehalf of clients are regulated acti viti es. Only authorised investment services providers,listed on the Regafi register (https://www.regafi .fr)
orintermediaries authorised in the category of fi nancial investment advisors (FIAs registeredwith ORIAS https://www.orias.fr/search) are qualifi ed tocarry out these acti viti es. The AMF recommends that investors should not respond tosolicitati ons from persons who ask them to invest without checking that these persons havethe necessary guarantees or authorisati ons.
Lastly, the AMF reminds retail investors to follow these vigilance guidelines before makingany investment:
- Be wary of promises of quick profi ts without trade-off s. There is no such thing as highreturns without high risks.
- Do not be rushed or give in to pressure from the caller. Take the ti me to think it over.
- Be suspicious of requests for money transfers to countries that have no connecti on withthe fi rm or with the investor’s country of residence.
- Do not take informati on provided by fi rms at face value, either orally or in writi ng. Usinga false identi ty is easy and it is a widespread problem.
- Do not give your personal informati on (phone numbers, email address, ID documents,bank details, IBAN, proof of residence, etc.) to unreliable websites.
- Be careful of adverti sements that you see on the Internet and especially on social media.They are the hunti ng grounds for scammers seeking to hook new victi ms.
- If the company that has contacted you has not been blacklisted by the AMF, this doesnot mean that it is authorised to provide you with fi nancial services.