Scams

Scams

All financial services firms must be authorised by us – if they’re not, it’s probably a scam.
Check our AIFC Public Registers to see if a firm or individual is authorised or registered with us.
Always access the Register from our website, rather than through links in emails or on the website of a firm offering you an investment. 

How to avoid or report a scam
Find out how to protect yourself from investment scams, and how to check you’re dealing with an authorised firm. 

Scams are increasingly sophisticated. Fraudsters can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing. 
But if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Reject unexpected offers
If you’re contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity, chances are it’s a high-risk investment or a scam.

Check if a firm is AFSA-authorised 

Digital asset (incl. cryptocurrency) investment scams
Certain digital assets that are widely used in daily lives of many, like Bitcoin and Ether (also known as virtual assets or more commonly cryptocurrencies) have limited regulation within the AIFC. As a potential investor, you must be cautious when someone is offering you an investment opportunity in relation to digital assets.
All persons conducting regulated financial services within the AIFC are authorized by the AFSA, an independent financial services regulator within the AIFC [find out which financial services are regulated]. To work with providers of financial services involving cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, AFSA specifically established the FinTech Lab. FinTech Lab allows such providers to test their technologies before they are allowed to operate on wider markets. Despite stringent regulatory requirements that the providers have the follow, high volatility of digital assets results in an extremely high risk to investors [find out what regulatory requirements they have to follow].
Buying from, selling, or transferring digital assets to providers who are not authorized by the AFSA falls outside our remit. The same is true for the operation of a cryptocurrency exchange or other types of regulated activities with an underlying digital asset element.
Find out list if a person you want to deal with is authorized by AFSA [public register]. You should always check with the AFSA’s public register before entering into a transaction with a provider of financial services involving digital assets.

More scams to avoid

  • money transfer scams
  • online trading scams
  • cryptocurrency investment scams
  • get-rich-quick, Ponzi and pyramid schemes
  • overseas property and crop schemes
  • share, bond and boiler room scams
  • unauthorised forex (FX) trading and brokerage firms
  • unregulated investment products

Report a scam or unauthorised firm
If you suspect you have been contacted by an unauthorised firm or individual carrying out an AFSA-regulated activity – who often cold-call people – report it to us using the form below. 
Almost all firms and individuals offering financial services on AIFC must be authorised or registered by us. You should only deal with authorised or registered firms. Always check the AIFC Public Registers to ensure firms are authorised or registered.
Please tell us as much as you can about the unauthorized firm or individual who contacted you. If you have been contacted by several firms or individuals, then please complete a separate form for each of them.
If you think you have lost money to fraud, you should report via online form.
On the form below, tell us about the unauthorised firm or individual you are reporting to us and why you are reporting them. On the next page you will be asked to provide details about yourself.
This form is only for reporting unauthorised firms or individuals. If the firm or person you want to report is authorised or registered with the AFSA, then please contact us using our regular contact details.