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Belgium watchdog receives 1K crypto crime notifications

Cybercrime.TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

Sun, 23 Jun 2019, 14:09 pm UTC

The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), a Belgian watchdog, has recently released a report documenting financial crimes notifications it received in 2018. In the report, the agency received a total of 2,066 total notifications from consumers regarding financial matters. This is a disturbing 20 percent increase compared to the year before. Of that figure, 998 were related to cryptocurrencies in one way or another.

Crypto fraud has been a part of the nascent industry since the beginning, with many scammers cashing in on the popularity of giants like bitcoin to trick people into giving them money for nothing. A recent example of this is the so-called “Coyote of Wall Street” pleading guilty on wire fraud charges, Bloomberg reports.

Patrick McDonnell, 46, confessed in no uncertain terms that he committed the crimes that he is being charged with. Be presenting himself as an expert bitcoin trader with a supposed $50 million track record under his belt, he was able to reel in victims. He received money and then spent $194,000 of that on personal expenses.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and the same goes for the reports received by the FSMA. A huge majority of the incidents involve crypto fraud are not even reported, Financefeeds notes. As such, the nearly 1,000 notifications that the agency received could be a much smaller portion of the actual number of cases.

In response to the rising trend in criminal behavior related to cryptocurrency, the FSMA had started putting together a list of questionable or outright guilty sites committing crypto crimes. In many of the cases that the agency has been made aware of, the victims were never able to recover their investments. In more positive news, incidents involving CFDs and binary options have gone down, so those have become less of a concern in Belgium.

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