Hong Kong Monetary Authority has warned investors against a fraudulent website that is misusing the details of a licensed bank – Tai Yau Bank, Limited. Fraudsters are using the details and website contents of this genuine bank in an effort to deceive the public, the HKMA said.

The regulator has recently warned from letters claiming to come from one of the mainland’s biggest banks and try to lure victims into a cash scam with the promise of a share in a fictitious fortune.

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“Anyone who has provided his or her personal information to the website concerned or has conducted any financial transactions through the website should contact the bank concerned using the contact information provided in the press release, and report to the Police or contact the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force at 2860 5012,” the watchdog further states.

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), the country’s financial regulator, also issued a warning  last year against a fraudulent clone website posing as CITIC Bank International, China’s seventh-largest lender in terms of total assets.

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The inclusion of CITIC Bank brings to light one of many tactics used by cloning entities – the misuse of the name of international financial services giants. CITIC is not the first banking giant to have clones in Hong Kong. Earlier last year, the SFC warned against clones of Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo & Co, and Citigroup, as well as many financial services providers.

The Hong Kong regulator has recently made fighting against corporate fraud its top enforcement priority. Other key tasks include battling insider dealing and market manipulation, intermediary money-laundering, and internal control failures.

Cloned firms are a common fraud in which companies mask their fraudulent activities by using details the same as or similar to those of an authorized entity to give the appearance of trustworthiness and legitimacy.

Hence, Hong Kong’s financial regulator reiterates that investors should be extremely cautious in their financial dealings, and it keeps them informed by drawing attention to suspicious operations and unregulated entities that market participants should abstain from doing business with.