The U.K.’s top financial regulator warned consumers against using FTX. The company says it’s being impersonated by a scammer

September 19, 2022, 5:43 PM UTC
Sam Bankman-Fried
The UK's top regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, issued a warning to consumers about Sam Bankman-Fried's crypto exchange FTX.
Jeenah Moon—Bloomberg/Getty Images

The U.K.’s top financial regulator issued a warning to consumers that Bahamas-based crypto exchange FTX is not authorized to offer financial services or products in the country.

In a note last week, the Financial Conduct Authority said FTX was “targeting people in the U.K.” with its products, warning consumers to be wary of dealing with the company. It added that if consumers invested with FTX they wouldn’t have access to protections like the Financial Ombudsman Service, which settles complaints between consumers and businesses that provide financial services, or the country’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which repays consumers when a financial firm can’t pay out a claim.

A spokesperson for FTX told Bloomberg that the warning appears to have been triggered by a scammer impersonating the crypto exchange, noting that the phone numbers listed in the FCA’s warning are incorrect.

“We’re looking into it and communicating with regulators; we believe that a scammer is impersonating FTX,” the spokesperson said. “The phone numbers listed by the FCA are not from FTX and are listed as a crypto scam.”

FTX did not immediately respond to Fortune‘s request for comment.

The FCA has been actively enforcing rules against crypto industry players despite previous statements by high-level government officials, including the country’s former economic secretary to the treasury, in favor of the industry.

The FCA last year published a note similar to the FTX warning consumers about the world’s most popular crypto exchange, Binance. Earlier this year, the regulatory agency also put out a note warning all crypto ATM companies operating in the U.K. that they were doing so illegally. Both Binance and FTX’s crypto exchanges are still available to U.K. consumers.

The FCA’s warning to FTX comes as Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler has taken a sharper tone on cryptocurrencies. Crypto companies have called for more regulatory guidance and accused the U.S. agency of regulating by enforcement, instead of creating clear rules.

Gensler said in a speech to the Practicing Law Institute earlier this month that existing securities rules should apply to cryptocurrencies, despite industry advocates saying the rules are being misinterpreted.

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