Paris, France: Financial Markets Authority (AMF) has issued the following press release:
Following numerous reports from retail investors, the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) is calling for the utmost vigilance with regard to proposals to invest in "eco-parks" or solar parks, generally impersonating large companies.
According to testimonies collected by the AMF Epargne Info Service platform and the AMF's findings from its advertising monitoring, many fraudulent offers to invest in energy transition are proposed to retail investors. This may involve proposals such as investing in a "hydrogen savings account", sometimes in an "oil" or "solar" version, in parking spaces with electric charging stations, presented as "eco-car parks", or in photovoltaic power plants installed in Spain, Portugal, France or Belgium. These fraudulent offers are generally based on the impersonation of well-known groups in the energy or retail sectors, real estate operators, as well as financial professionals, management companies and financial investment advisers. These proposals also sometimes claim to benefit from a capital guarantee supposedly from the ACPR, Banque de France or the European Central Bank (ECB).
Fake marketing brochures describe these fraudulent offers as "environmentally responsible" or "sustainable, high-potential and secure" investments, with a "high rate of return" (6% to 12% per year), that will "supercharge your savings", sometimes in the form of "crowdfunding contracts".
Retail investors are usually contacted by e-mail or telephone, after having filled in their details in contact forms on the internet. Some victims of these frauds say they discovered the offer on social media.
There is no reality behind these fraudulent offers. Once they have transferred the funds, victims soon find that they are unable to contact the fake advisors or to get their money back.
Since the beginning of the year, the AMF has received more than one hundred complaints and reports and more than fifty information requests from retail investors about this type of investment proposal. The losses reported by retail investors who have contacted the AMF after subscribing to these types of fraudulent offers are high, reaching an average of EU70,000.
The AMF reminds the public that investment advice is a regulated activity. Only authorised investment services providers listed in the Regafi register (https://www.regafi.fr) or intermediaries authorised as financial investment advisers (FIAs registered with Orias https://www.orias.fr/search) are authorised to provide investment advice. The AMF recommends that investors should not respond to solicitations from people urging them to invest without first checking that these people have the necessary guarantees or authorisations.