The Financial Services Commission’s website has been cloned at a similar internet address, and the agency said it is working to decommission the fake.
The purpose of the fraudulent site is unclear, as there is no obvious mechanism for it to be used to collect money other otherwise scam users.
The FSC did not speculate on a possible motive for creating the site, though it issued an Aug. 23 statement warning against visiting it or using it to conduct business.
That warning was necessary “in order to protect the customers, creditors or persons who may have been solicited to visit or conduct business” via the phony address https://bvifsc.co, according to the financial regulator.
“It has come to the notice of the FSC that a website is being operated via the [web address], which is falsely purporting to be the official website of the FSC,” the agency stated. “The fraudulent website appears to have materially cloned (and displays) details and information from the FSC’s website: www.bvifsc.vg.”
The fraudulent website is very similar to the FSC’s. It includes several pages with mostly identical information, though sometimes the page appearance or format differs slightly.
At least one major difference stands out, however: The contact page on the fake website lists the FSC’s address as Sydney, Australia, and includes the phone number +111-22-33-444.
“The FSC hereby informs the public that the FSC has no affiliation with and is not connected to the fraudulent website,” the agency stated. “Further, the fraudulent website and its operators are not and have never been authorised by the FSC to use the information published on the fraudulent website.”
The FSC is working with the “relevant authorities” to have the fraudulent website decommissioned, according to the warning.
The FSC said it issued the Aug. 23 public statement pursuant to Section 37A of the Financial Services Commission Act, 2001.
That provision authorises the agency to issue a statement for reasons including protecting thepublic against financial loss arising from the dishonesty, incompetence, malpractice orinsolvency of anyone engaging infinancial services business in the Virgin Islands.