The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has warned the public to be cautious of fraudulent messages from entities impersonating the FSCA itself.

The bogus e-mails, coming from an fscacommunications@gmail.com address, claim to be from “FSCA Communications” and mislead customers or offer them opportunities to receive financial services provider (FSP) licences.

According to the FSCA, the perpetrators claim recipients are suspected of operating pyramid schemes due to irregular activity on their bank accounts. The recipient is then threatened with legal action or freezing of their bank accounts, unless a fine of R200,000 is paid and the licence application received.

The regulator says it will never send communication from a gmail account, or any domain other than the FSCA domain. It urges the public to report suspicious e-mails immediately by phoning the FSCA toll free on 0800 110 443 or contacting it via its website.

The FSCA has, meanwhile, warned the public against doing any financial services business with Martin Sethole and Nadex Investments, Tradefarm, and a certain Tom Zambon.

None of these entities are authorised to give any financial advice or render any intermediary services in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, the FSCA says.

The regulator says Sethole is encouraging members of the public to invest in a binary options strategy with Nadex Investments and promises high returns within 48 hours. He also alleges that Nadex Investments is a subsidiary of AIP Capital Management, an authorised FSP, number 48828. AIP Capital has confirmed that it does not own any subsidiaries and has no relationship with Nadex Investments or Sethole.

According to the FSCA, Tradefarm is in breach of financial sector laws as it takes money from the public without being authorised as an FSP, nor is it a representative of an authorised FSP and there is no record with the FSCA of an application for it to become an authorised FSP.

In the Zambon case, the FSCA has warned consumers against doing business with this person in SA, who is posing as a former employee of Ashburton Investments in Jersey with the same name and using social media to solicit funds from the public.

You can check the credentials of any FSP, institution or person before parting with your hard-earned cash on the FSCA website or phoning the FSCA toll free on 0800 110 443.