Rogue internet operators have targeted some of London’s top hedge funds and asset managers by cloning their websites and names in an attempt to dupe unsuspecting investors.
Although few individuals are known to have fallen to this scam, two of Europe’s most prominent investors Winton and Algebris are among the highest profile names to be hit by the scammers.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has warned that fraudsters have cloned sites of Algebris UK, founded by Italian investor Davide Serra, and Winton Group, set up by British billionaire David Harding, in January and February respectively.
These cases came to the fore as the British government is set to bring in new legislation to tackle rogue online operators; it could also appoint telecoms regulator Ofcom to police the sector.
According to a source familiar with the matter at hand, Winton had complained to the FCA following the creation of a website called wintonfinance.com. The site is no longer active.
In a separate incident, a video described as an interview between Winton founder Harding and Bitsmax, was posted on YouTube on December 26 by an account carrying Bitsmax’s name.
On Bitsmax’s site, it describes itself as a UK certified investment platform for cryptocurrencies.
The video was, in fact, of Harding talking at an investment conference, said the source familiar with the matter.
Bitsmax could not be reached for comment.
The video was online until Monday and has been removed by Google after Reuters reached out to it for comment.
According to the source close to Winton, the firm had previously spent weeks trying to get the video removed.
Google’s spokesman declined to comment.
On Tuesday, the FCA had issued a warning against Bitsmax.
On February 5, Winton had already posted a warning to its clients via its website about Bitsmax claiming false association to the firm and its founder, following a more general warning on Twitter on February 3.