UK watchdog sounds alarm over fraud firm with crypto links

The U.K. financial regulator has issued a warning against one firm that offers cryptocurrency trading services. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published the warning on Friday, urging the public to be very wary when dealing with the firm.

The FCA believes that the firm, Pro-Options, could be carrying out some shady businesses. It stated in its warning, “This firm is not authorised by us and is targeting people in the U.K. Based upon information we hold, we believe it is carrying on regulated activities which require authorisation.”

Pro-Options claims to be an investment platform, with a focus on crypto. To get started, a user has to open an account and fund it using crypto. On its website, it boldly claims to offer up to 100% profit in just 60 seconds. The company hails itself as one of the leading platforms in the U.S. for binary options and forex trading.

Pro-Options is purportedly based in New York and regulated by the CFTC. It also claims to be regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchanges Commission as well as Belize’s IFSC, the country’s financial regulator.

The FCA urged the public to only deal with firms that it has authorized. Anyone who falls victim to a firm that’s not registered by the regulator is unlikely to get their money back if things go wrong, it warned.

The FCA has been quite active in identifying and calling out firms that it believes to be fraudulent. Many of these have been clones, posing as other well-recognized legitimate companies to confuse users who aren’t keen.

The watchdog has also sought to be a step ahead, especially in regards to crypto. In 2019, it hired crypto specialists to work with the Financial Crime Department to thwart crypto scams. The FCA was also one of the founders of the Global Financial Innovation Network, a network composed of several global regulators. The GFIN seeks to help the regulators stay ahead in an era where digital crime is at an all-time high. As CoinGeek reported, U.S. regulators, including the FDIC, the SEC and the CFTC joined the network in October last year.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.