Passbooks, cryptos, shares: the scams that cost you the most in 2022

Always more sites and actors included in the blacklists not authorized to practice in France. And yet, investment scams still abound. This Tuesday, June 14, during the presentation of the report of the Common Pole of the Prudential Control and Resolution Authority (ACPR) and the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), the two regulators have indeed drawn up a report for the less mixed in 2021. A year marked by the addition of more than 1,300 sites and addresses to the five blacklists they regularly know, after having already integrated 1,200 new entities in 2020. By counting the 248 “blacklisted” references ” in the first quarter of 2022, no less than 4,100 names have been indicated to date in these forms.

As a reminder, these inventories list the entities not authorized to operate on loans, bank books, payment services, insurance contracts; investments in Forex – the foreign exchange market -; crypto-asset derivatives; binary options (trading) and finally investments in various goods such as diamonds, wine, livestock or crypto-assets. And you must consult them to avoid falling into the trap.

But despite the numerous alerts disseminated to the general public on the false investments offered on the Web and the repeated warnings to savers so that they adopt consult these blacklists by reflex, the gendarme of the bank and the insurance (ACPR) and that of the Stock Exchange (AMF) can only find the damage. In 2021, several tens of thousands of euros, on average, have vanished from the victims of scammers.

72,000 euros in losses on fake booklets

Scam the most spent, and the most calculated, that of offering fake savings books. Average damage observed among people who contacted the Assurance Banque Épargne Info Service (ABEIS) telephone platform: 72,000 euros. The weapon of crooks to extort such sums from their prey? The trust implied by the very notion of the booklet, according to Claire Castanet, director of relations with savers at the AMF: “The booklet is a catch-all concept for fraudsters, synonymous with seriousness, guarantee.”

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And these unscrupulous offenders have become more professional over the years, not hesitating to lower their promises of secure returns, to 4% for example, to gain the confidence of their targets. Another lever used by the crooks: the usurpation of identity of actors known and authorized to exercise, the secretary general of the ACPR, Dominique Laboureix, pointing to “an industrialization of this mode of operation”.

A double damage on cryptocurrencies

Techniques that web scamps have adopted to mislead the general public about other asset classes, foremost among which are equities. Taking advantage of the renewed enthusiasm for corporate securities thanks to the confinement and the stock market crash of March 2020, the scammers do not hesitate to dangle these poorly trained stockbrokers with promotions on listed shares. The AMF thus alerted, in March 2022, to scams promising FdJ shares at a discount. A ruse which is based on “the notion of good business, which often makes people dream”, deplores Claire Castanet. Balance sheet on fake listed securities scams: 55,000 euros loss on average.

Also very popular, cryptocurrency scams are also very expensive for victims. Lured by commercial banners on the Internet evoking, for example, the launch of a cryptocurrency by Amazon – “a name that attracts”, notes Claire Castanet -, the crooks have been able since the beginning of 2022 to extract an average of 40,000 euros from their victims. Twice as many as in 2021. This is an opportunity to recall that only digital asset service providers (PSAN) registered with the AMF are authorized to offer the purchase or sale of crypto-assets.

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The threat of inflation

And for all these categories of scams, the secretary general of the ACPR, Dominique Laboureix, can only note that “the phenomenon is not running out of steam”. Especially since the information transmitted to regulators is only the tip of the iceberg, many victims being too ashamed to contact them.

And the future looks perhaps even bleaker for prey that does not adopt the right reflexes. “With inflation, we expect the crooks to cling to the news,” fears Grégoire Vuarlot, director of control of commercial practices at the ACPR. With the cost of living rising at high speed, you run the risk of being asked to subscribe to an investment that has everything of a miracle with a miraculous return, and guaranteed, allowing you to beat inflation. You have been warned: do not follow up.

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