Watch for scams! - CONSOB AND ITS ACTIVITIES
Watch for scams
The management of investment services and activities towards the public is reserved to subjects previously authorized by CONSOB.
Most of the time, the operations made by UNAUTHORIZED subjects, lacking the necessary requirements, including property and organizational ones, as envisaged by the regulations for the protection of investors, effectively give rise to SCAMS.
How to defend yourself
If you are contacted by or if you come across a domain/website which offers you the opportunity for trading online (i.e. trade on binary options and / or forex transactions) please verify first of all if it is authorized.
Every authorized subject must be included in the SIM list kept by CONSOB. To check with the list click here. On the CONSOB website you can also control the list of all the EU investment firms operating in Italy:
Following Brexit, the additional lists of investment firms from third countries (with branch and without branch) which are authorized to operate in Italy and the lists of UK firms - other than banks - no longer authorized to operate in Italy as of 1/1/2021, have been made available.
Also banks can be authorized entities for the provision of investment services; therefore it is useful to consult the lists published on the Bank of Italy website.
Check the "WARNINGS TO SAVERS" section of the CONSOB website and verify whether CONSOB has issued a warning related to the subject offering you financial services and / or CONSOB has ordered to stop its activity or its offer managed online through a website.
Check the "WARNING AND PUBLICATIONS FOR INVESTORS" section of ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority) website and verify whether other European Supervisory Authorities have published warnings related to the subject offering you financial services
Check the "INVESTOR PROTECTION - INVESTOR ALERTS PORTAL" section of IOSCO (International Organization of Securities Commissions) website and verify if the subject offering you financial services has been warned against by other world Authorities homologous to CONSOB.
Warning. The firms which are not registered in the lists published on Consob website are not authorized as investment firms. If you cannot find a specific firm name in the lists which are published or in the communications published by Consob for the protection of savers ("Warning notices to savers") the company itself might be offering investment services without the due authorizations as well, in the absence of measures having yet been taken. In this case you must deliver to CONSOB a specific SIPE/Complain form.
Contact CONSOB if you have any doubts
If you have further doubts, please contact CONSOB by the SIPE request form/ASK TO CONSOB or call +39.06.8477611 (Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm).
Remember that every information provided by investors and savers who want to protect themselves from the risk of fraud represents a valuable source of information for CONSOB and can provide important details for assessing supervisory initiatives.
Please take note that the submission of a complaint to the Public Security Authorities may also be extremely appropriate, to protect oneself against the illegal use by scammers of privacy, personal data (identity document, fiscal code), banking references or any other data or information which have been transmitted in good faith by the scammed subjects.
NEW: italian Register against unwanted calls
The new Public Register of Oppositions provides for the possibility for all home/mobile telephone numbers, both in public and reserved telephone, to subscribe to a ad hoc service in order not to receive unwanted (telemarketing and other) proposals by telephone. The related instructions are published on the website of the Ministry of Productive Activities at https://registrodelleopposizioni.it/.
What can you do
ask for more information to the subject who contacted you
- or ask the operator to specify every detail of the company mentioned
- or ask if the said company is authorized
- or ask who gave the authorization
- or ask for the authorization number
- or ask for details about the authorized domain
- or ask where the said company/domain is legally located
make by yourself independent, simple and basic checks on the web
- if possible, check the site of the Supervisory Authority that is supposed to have authorized the subject offering financial services (also to verify through which websites/domains the subject effectively operates; avoid the so-called clone sites, illegal operators which may happen to use websites/domains whose name is similar to that of authorized parties);
- if possible, check the business register of the country where the online subject declares to have its legal headquarters and check attentively the related information (name, headquarters, etc.);
- or enter the company or website/domain name in a primary search engine (i.e. Google) and check the main results published in forums, blogs and other, on the web.
If, after your requests / verifications, you have not obtained a clear and complete information, do not rush to invest money in this trading company at any prize, because the proposal you have been made might be a scam.
Remember that the abusive practice of investment services and activities is a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to a maximum of 8 years (Article 166 of the Consolidated Law on Finance - TUF).
Submit a complaint via the online complaint form of CONSOB..
report the subject to the Public Security Authorities
reports the subject to CONSOB
- Who contacted you did not provide clear answers to your questions;
- The answers provided have not been confirmed on the web and on the websites you have examined;
- Very high and / or easily achievable economic returns are promised as well as incentives (bonuses) to entice you to invest;
- Persistent phone calls from the operator to induce you to invest (so-called Cold Calling)
- The company/firm/domain is based in off shore countries / tax havens.
If you have been contacted by a subject or if you come across a website/domain which, instead of proposing the opening of a trading account, suggests you to join financial initiatives related to "DIFFERENT GOODS", contracts related to each other or not better specified " investment programs "whereby:
- you are asked for CAPITAL (even of a SMALL amount)
- you are offered a YIELD (with the perspective of a relevant, HIGH in percentage, economic return, out of the market value)
you might be faced with a negotiating proposal concerning a "financial investment". In such cases, the subject proposing the transaction is urging the public of savers to make financial investments.
To carry out this "OFFER" activity, it is requested the publication of an INFORMATION PROSPECTUS, a document APPROVED BY THE CONSOB, containing information on the investment that is proposed to you, on the risks you run, on the issuing company and on its state of health (checking the section of the CONSOB website where the prospectuses are published click here)).
Making an offer of financial products to the public without publishing a the prospectus represents a violation of administrative law and, very often, hides effective scams with respect of savers.
- high returns;
- poor information transparency;
- rewarding reward mechanisms (i.e. pyramid schemes).
Further details-watch out for scams
measures against abusive sites- watch for scams
Consob interventions for the blackout of abusive online trading sites - Supervisory powers attributed by the "Growth Decree" (from 30.6.2019) and for the blackout of websites offering financial products and / or advertising offers of financial products without complying with the legislation on the publication of the prospectus (Supervisory powers attributed by the "Milleproroghe" Decree (from 1.3.2020)
Consob quarterly interventions against abusive activities pursuant to art. 7-octies of the Legislative Decree no. 58/1998 (from 1.1.2019 to 30.6.2019)
further insights-watch out for scams
G20/OECD High-Level Principles on Financial Consumer Protection of 12 December 2022
Consob warning of 31 October 2022: Alleged purchase of Amazon shares
ESAs warning of 17 March 2022 on the risks of crypto-assets
Consob and Bank of Italy warn against risks inherent in crypto-assets (Press release of 28 April 2021)
Consob statement on cases of exceptional volatility in the trading of stocks and the use of social forums and web trading platforms
Consob warning of 6 April 2021: Illegal use of the Consob acronym and logo
ESMA Report on Trends, Risks and Vulnerabilities of 17 March 2021
ESAs warning of 17 March 2021 - Crypto-assets: ESAs remind consumers about risks
ESMA warning of 17 february 2021 on the risks to retail investors of social media-driven share trading
Consob warning of 5 February 2021: Advertising initiatives that use illegitimately the image of celebrities
FCA warning of 11 January 2021 on the risks of investments based on crypto-assets
Consob warning of 18 May 2020 about the practice adopted by abusive financial operators who improperly use the name and image of celebrities to promise easy earnings
Consob warning of 12 May 2020 on other Supervisory Authorities warnings about fraudulent initiatives during the Coronavirus pandemic
Consob warning of 9 April 2020 on fraudulent initiatives taking advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19)
FINMA news of 11 September 2019: communication on "stable coins" (Libra)
Esma notice of 9 January 2019: Initial Coin Offerings and crypto-assets FINMA
ESAs warning of 12 February 2018 on the risks of virtual currencies
Consob warning of January 2017: risks for consumers: sale of diamonds
video-watch out for scams
"Balance the books" - Financial scams. Speech by dr. Oscar Costantini, Consumer Protection Division (Uno Mattina in Famiglia, Rai Uno of 19 March 2023)
"Money does not go into lockdown". Speech by dr. Mauro Lorenzoni (Rai News - News 6.30 pm of 14 November 2020)
"Trading online, watch out for easy earnings". Speech by dr. Mauro Lorenzoni ("Mi manda Rai tre" of 14 September 2020)
Watch out for scams and Ponzi scheme: interview with Deputy Director General Giuseppe D'Agostino on 29 May 2019
Finance on Stage: "Watch out for scams!" (video of 20 November 2018)