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Frauds and Scams

Frauds and Scams

ESMA’s name and logo are falsely used to promote frauds and scams. This correspondence typically includes illegitimate use of the ESMA logo, ESMA letter head, signatures and names of ESMA officials and of ESMA teams and departments.

These frauds and scams aim to illegally obtain money (directly or through the request for personal details) from individuals or from companies. The target of these frauds and scams are often investors who had incurred financial losses.

All references to ESMA or its employees in this kind of communications are entirely false and have been made without ESMA’s knowledge or consent.

Scams

    Pretext

    The fraudsters approach their victims on the pretext of helping them to recover their funds and present themselves as ESMA officials. Other fraudsters claim to work for ESMA and to be investigating an investment firm.

    Recipients would typically be asked to provide personal information in order to allow money transfers and international payments. In other cases, the recipients are invited to transfer money from their own bank account; for instance, to pay an administrative fee.

    Tools and methods used

    • Emails, complaint forms, decisions and other documents
    • Quote information from ESMA
    • Reference to ESMA’s website and e-mail addresses
    • Use of signature of ESMA’s Departments and ESMA’s disclaimer messages
    • Create and use copycat versions of ESMA official documents
    • Sign their documents or refer in their communications to different ESMA representatives, including ESMA’s Chair and Executive Director, or to the members of the Joint Board of Appeal

    Stay safe

    If you receive dubious or obviously fraudulent requests, do not access any links or reply or provide personal information. In order to protect yourself against these unauthorised communications, ESMA advises you to check whether the e-mail received is genuine, and inform your superior in case of suspicious e-mails.

    To better protect yourself, pay attention to the following:

    • ESMA is based in Paris, France, and has no affiliates or branch offices elsewhere
    • ESMA’s emails end with the address @esma.europa.eu. All other email addresses including those with only one letter of difference are fake
    • ESMA’s telephone number begins with the prefix +33 for France, no other prefix is valid
    • ESMA’s official website can be found at www.esma.europa.eu
    • In case of doubts or suspicions about the authenticity of any correspondence received that claims to be from or linked to ESMA or its representatives, forward the concerned emails as an attachment to info.esma@esma.europa.eu
    • Report the suspicious communication to your domestic law enforcement authorities i.e. to your local police or to the national public body responsible for investigating financial frauds and scams
    • If you have already exchanged correspondence with the fraudsters, we encourage you to cease all interactions and report your case to your domestic law enforcement authorities immediately
    • Check your rights as a victim of a crime on the European e-Justice Portal

    ESMA's powers

    ESMA is taking active action, including lodging complaints with the local police, against these activities and welcomes any information from the recipients of these e-mails. However, ESMA cannot take any responsibility for losses arising from response to such correspondence.

    ESMA’s powers are defined in the Regulation (EU) No. 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation). These powers do not include the power to investigate or take action against investment firms; nor do they include the power to impose payment of compensation or restitution in individual cases. In fact, financial market participants other than credit rating agencies, trade repositories, and securitisation repositories are not registered and supervised by ESMA.

    Investment firms can only provide investment services in the European Union (EU) if they are authorised by the National Competent Authority of an EU Member State.  Investors are therefore advised to always check whether a firm is authorised before taking any investment decision. In order to do so, investors can either consult ESMA’s Registries database or the relevant national registers of investment firms