The UK Financial Conduct Authority issued a warning Monday about a cloned firm using Morgan Stanley’s name and London address to take money from victims.
The real firm is Morgan Stanley & Co Ltd.
The clone is using the real firm’s Canary Wharf address and even its “Firm reference number,” a unique registration number from the FCA for firms authorized to sell financial products in the UK.
But the cloned firm is using a different phone number and email addresses.
Details from the FCA are here.
Other cloned firms the FCA has warned about recently include:
- a fake Piper Jaffray
- a phony UBS Global Investment Management Ltd
- a counterfeit Wheaton Capital Limited, and
- a bogus Natix Bank.
The cloned firms often cold call people and convince them to set up and put money in “new accounts” or, if they coincidentally already have an account at the real firm, to buy stocks or make trades.
Any money sent to a clone soon disappears, as does the clone itself.
When callers from a clone are asked why their phone numbers and email addresses are different than those shown on the FCA’s Register, they say the Register is out of date.
“But this is unlikely as we update the Register each evening,” the FCA said.
Some clones copy entire websites of FCA-authorized firms, “making subtle changes such as to the phone number listed.”
The FCA said it has even seen fake versions of its own website and Register “that include the fraudsters’ contact details rather than those of the genuine, authorized firm.”
Some clones are used to gather people’s account numbers and other financial and personal details, which are then sold to other fraudsters.
The FCA has more information about clones and how to protect yourself against them here.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He’ll be the keynote speaker at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016.