If you are looking for, applying for or renewing an LEI code, you’ll find various web pages offering fast and secure LEI registration services. Most of these websites collect data using online forms and, in the case of official registration agents and Local Operating Units, this data is used to register or renew your LEI code. However, an increasing number of scam websites are emerging, where an LEI is promised but never delivered.
The GLEIF (Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation – The umbrella organisation that oversees the LEI code system established by the G20) and accredited code issuers are fighting against such scam websites.
Tempted by the lower prices offered by these websites than those of accredited LEI issuers?
The question arises, how can some third-party websites offer lower prices than official registration agents or code issuers? In this article, we draw attention to the risks present in the LEI registration system, which the scam websites may take advantage of to offer more favorable prices.
1. The issuance of LEI codes via unaccredited third-party sites is not regulated by the GLEIF.
The service offered by the websites is not regulated in any way. This means that, in cases where a dispute arises (for example, if your LEI code is not issued or renewed), it is not possible to contact the GLEIF or the issuer of the code (Local Operating Unit – LOU) to get your money back.
The only option in the event of fraud is to try to make a claim through the court system, which is unlikely to be financially viable due to the small price for applying for or renewing an LEI code. This is especially true since there are likely to be jurisdictional issues where the websites are not registered in the European Union.
2. The fulfillment of multi-annual contracts cannot be guaranteed by unaccredited third-party issuers.
It is only possible to renew your LEI code for one year at a time in the LEI codes database. This means: if a company purchases automatic renewals for an LEI code for 5-years, then the service provider must submit a new application every year to the official register to renew the LEI code. If the service provider closes its doors, then you will lose the amount you paid for your 5-year LEI code renewal.
3. Unaccredited issuers may sell your company and personal data to third-parties.
4. It is not technically possible to issue an LEI code before the next business day.
Several scam LEI code service providers are offering an LEI code within minutes. Technically this is not possible. LEI codes appear in the GLEIF database the following business day at 12 o’clock (depending on when the GLEIF updates its database).
Bank databases are interfaced with the GLEIF, so your LEI code cannot be used for securities transactions before the next day, regardless of the speed at which the LEI is issued.
The issuance of the LEI code is one of the very few online services, where clients are willing to pay advance up to 5 years. Unfortunately, this service is attractive to fraudsters who are coming up with increasingly sophisticated scams. Beyond the fraudulent websites, phishing e-mails are also being sent urging people associated with a company or to the company’s general e-mail to renew their LEI code.
How to check whether an LEI issuer is accredited by the GLEIF?
Official registration agents and code issuers display the GLEIF logo on their websites in accordance with the license agreement. The GLEIF logo is being misused, however, so we recommend checking the registration agents list available on the GLEIF website or the list of accredited code issuers.
What to do if you have been involved in a case of LEI fraud?
British LEI actively contributes to the development of the LEI code system. We call on all entrepreneurs who have fallen victim to LEI fraud to make themselves known to us.
We provide information to the umbrella organization and other market participants to help fight against fraud and make the European business environment better. We also recommend that you contact the GLEIF directly at firstname.lastname@example.org in any case.
Check the background of service provider before making a prepayment!
Today, more than 1.7 million LEI codes have been issued worldwide and unfortunately, fraud is becoming more common. Many businesses have proved to be willing to make an advance payment on suspicious websites for up to five years to obtain their LEI codes.
We recommend that you always check the background of your service provider and conduct proper due diligence before making such prepayments.
British LEI is an official registration agent, who follows all the rules set out by the umbrella organisation. We also issue LEI codes to British companies without prepayment, on the basis of an invoice.