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Screenshot of a breaking news alert e-mail from Q2 2017
British concern over a practice which has become increasingly common is growing, as Alpari’s UK division has issued a warning relating to the attempts of impostors wishing to misuse the popular and trusted brand. Cloning, the nefarious practice of generating bogus websites with names and graphics which resemble those of well established and genuine companies is a method by which potential investors can be duped if not paying attention to very fine detail.
Earlier this summer, Alpari UK warned its customers of several websites that are not affiliated in any way with the broker, but still claim that they are. The list of the fraudulent websites includes:
These websites, be them providers of information services or entities claiming to be subsidiaries of the Forex broker, are, according to Alpari, misleading.
It is evident on close inspection that some of the websites are bear common facets by which they can be identified as fake. They exist in order to illegally gather personal data which are then used to contact the victims and solicit funds from them, or to target their email for direct marketing purposes.
Alpari UK published the following warning: “Please do not provide your bank account details, do not deposit funds, and do not provide any personal information to anyone who may contact you claiming they are representatives of any of the above websites, as these may be attempts to fraudulently solicit funds from you.” The broker urges clients to contact its dedicated customer service in case of doubt. Potential investors can always report the matter to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which has been particularly vigilant on clones over the past year.
Meanwhile, the scam attempts by unauthorized clone firms in the Forex area have been on the rise lately. In April this year, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) issued a warning against clone firms Sky Forex UK, operating the domain www.skyforex.co.uk, and FXDirect Dealer, operating the domain www.fxdealer.us. Both names must be familiar to you – that is what clones count upon. However, Sky Forex UK had nothing to do with SkyFX and FXDirect Dealer had nothing to do with FXDirectDealer, LLC.
Clone matters can become even more complex, as sometimes two different businesses may hide under the same name, as shown by the recent case with the cloning of the name of IAF Capital, the London-based corporate finance advisory company. The bogus entity in this case was an FX broker soliciting retail clients.
Such scams are also plagued with copyright violations but fighting a case to defend one’s brand is hard and takes time. Still, we saw a bright example in this respect of a company involved in the Forex field – platform developer Spotware Systems, which managed to win a trademark infringement case in March. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) back then concluded that a number of websites illegally used the “cTrader” trademark.