The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has raised concerns about an illegal organization selling cryptocurrency to UK customers, in the latest consumer warning from the regulator.
The regulator, which is responsible for overseeing the financial services sector in the country, flagged a firm called Next Coin Market, which it said had been falsely claiming FCA authorization.
In a press release issued by the regulator on Wednesday, the FCA said this was an example of an “illegal organization” engaging in “criminal activity.”
According to the regulator, “We believe Next Coin Market is an illegal organization based in Bulgaria, claiming to be an FCA authorized firm offering cryptocurrencies to UK consumers. We have become aware they are sending consumers a link to a fake website, which gives the impression they are authorized by the FCA, when they are not. This is criminal activity.”
The notice urged consumers not to deal with the site, and asked those who had transferred money to the firm to contact external fraud agencies.
“If you have been approached by Next Coin Market, or another unauthorized firm with a link to our website, please contact us. If you have transferred money to the firm, you should also report your concerns to Action Fraud,” the FCA stated.
Next Coin Market offers UK consumers access to CFDs on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC). However, without appropriate FCA registration, the firm falls at the first compliance hurdle, according to the FCA.
The notice is the latest case of illegality in the UK’s crypto sector raised by the regulator, with the FCA forced to issue a number of similar warnings over specific firms engaging in unlawful activity, including scams and fraudulent misrepresentation.
The FCA advises consumers to carry out their own due diligence before dealing with any financial firm, saying, “We strongly advise you to only deal with financial firms that are authorized by us, and to check the Financial Services Register to ensure they are. It has information on firms and individuals that are, or have been, regulated by us.”
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