No 1

Beware of financial scams!

Financial fraud

Stick to the FMA’s check-list and don’t fall for financial scams.

Your mobile phone rings! A long-lost friend calls you and tells you that he is a successful financial investor, and shares a “dead cert” insider tip: if you invest Euro 5,000 in the shares of an American company, you’ll shortly make a massive profit. The whole process is fully transparent, as soon as you transfer the money, you can follow how the share price develops over the Internet, and to start off with, everything looks good…

Every year the FMA receives hundreds of phone calls and reports from people whose story begins like this or similarly.

And the common link between all of the cases: they were victims of financial conmen!

In 2020, victims ranged from the smallest retail investors, investing sums starting at Euro 130, through to investors who invested and lost larger amounts of up to Euro 600,000. The victims that disclosed the amount they lost to the FMA lost around Euro 7 million in total.

Around half of all scams involved misusing Bitcoin and other virtual currencies for investment fraud purposes. 

How contact is established

Contact to financial sharks is primarily made through acquaintances, either by telephone or by social media.


On average every victim of a scam lost approx. Euro 43,000 in 2020.

How can you ensure prior to taking an investment decision that you do become a victim of an invest scam?

Check the following:

1. Do you have all the information that you need?

If you are unsure ask, or seek the advice of a second provider. You can never have too much information or ask too many questions regarding the investment of and safety of your money. Keep on asking questions until you understand the product!

2. Is the provider authorised?

Check on the FMA website about whether the company or the person holds the necessary authorisation to provide financial services in Austria.

3. Have warnings already been issued about the provider?

Check on the FMA website about whether a warning has been published about this company already. Blogs and Internet forums often contain indications about potential scams.

Pay particular attention to the following tell-tale signs:

  • Have you received an unsolicited telephone call, in which the caller has tried to tempt you with an investment opportunity?
  • Were you asked to provide your account access details?
  • Were you given an insider’s tip or insider information?
  • Were you put under time pressure?
  • Were you made tempting offers about crypto assets?
  • Were you promised large returns with a low risk?

Remain realistic: if something sounds too good to be true, generally it isn’t true! Be informed and be critical!

A to Z of Finance

In the section on the A to Z of Finance on our website, you can find a brief overview about frequently occurring types of scams.