Further to a number of complaints from retail investors, the AMF is warning the general public against offers to invest in car parks, usually from websites that impersonate financial players or listed groups from the construction industry.
The AMF advises investors not to respond to requests from individuals to invest in car parks, and in particular car parks in European airports (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, etc.) without checking whether these individuals have the necessary guarantees or authorisations.
The method used by the fraudsters is the following: victims are contacted by phone or by e-mail by a canvasser who proposes investment opportunities in car parks and invites them to visit an online platform and then sign a fake leasing contract (or a savings passbook with monthly interest payments). The investment is presented as highly profitable and risk-free. In actual fact, there are no car park purchases or rentals behind these fraudulent offers.
For example, a pensioner explained to the AMF that he had been contacted “following an advertisement on the internet about an attractive investment” by someone posing as the director of a real estate firm headquartered in Germany. “After several telephone conversations, I expressed interest in a contract to invest €50,000 for a one-year term with the capital remaining available, bearing interest at 4.25% and with a monthly payment of the vested interest” explains this investor who was then offered a 7.8% return if he invested €100,000 in a “car park passbook account”. It was only after he had made the transfer that he conducted checks, only to find out that it was a scam. He failed to block the payment. These were “[his] retirement savings”.
Be extremely careful when you receive such offers and remember the recommendations below whenever you receive unsolicited investment proposals:
- Be wary of promises of quick profits without trade-offs. There is no such thing as high returns without high risks.
- Do not be rushed or give in to pressure from the caller. Take the time to think it over.
- Be suspicious of requests for money transfers to countries that have no connection with the firm or with the investor’s country of residence.
- Do not take information provided by firms at face value, either orally or in writing. Using a false identity is easy and it is a widespread problem.
- Do not give your personal information (phone numbers, email address, ID documents, bank details, IBAN, proof of residence, etc.) to unreliable websites.
- Be careful of advertisements that you see on the Internet and especially on social media. They are the hunting grounds for scammers seeking to hook new victims.
- If the company that has contacted you has not been blacklisted by the AMF, this does not mean that it is authorised to provide you with financial services.
About the AMF
The AMF is an independent public authority responsible for ensuring that savings invested in financial products are protected and that investors are provided with adequate information. The AMF also supervises the orderly operations of markets.Visit our website https://www.amf-france.org