The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued an alert warning investors of dubious, unregistered companies in the cryptocurrency space.
SEC maintains a list of companies that are soliciting business -- whether at home, or abroad -- that are on the radar due to alleged unscrupulous practices and registered investor complaints.
Known as the Public Alert: Unregistered Soliciting Entities (PAUSE) list, the US agency says the warnings are designed to "enable investors to better inform themselves and avoid being a victim of fraud."
On Thursday, SEC updated PAUSE (.PDF) with a further 28 companies, eight of which were associated with cryptocurrency services in some way.
At the time of writing, the websites of four companies listed with names that appear to be crypto-related -- Bitminingfx, Cloudinmine, Cryptobravos, and FX Bitcash -- are unavailable.
However, a Google search on the first three companies results in accusations of scams and fraud. In the case of FX Bitcash, views appear to be polarized -- although it is not possible to verify reviews -- and there is little information available on the organization now the website has been pulled.
The other companies of interest listed by SEC include AxTrading-Investment, which claims to be made up of a team of cryptocurrency investment experts. Passive Trade Plan claims to be a "trusted authority on digital currency investing," and Reclaws International boasts of lawyers able to assist in crypto-related scams and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
Another business name on SEC's watchlist is RetireWell Investors. This company requires a $500 "minimum investment" in its cryptocurrency services at a claimed 3% weekly return on investment (ROI).
Finally, SmartCoins24 is included. This firm boasts a "90%" success rate on "all trades," including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
"By updating the PAUSE list, we continue to provide the public with information we have learned in reviewing tips, complaints, referrals, and other sources so that investors can be alerted to potential fraud before they invest," commented Jennifer Diamantis, SEC's Office of Market Intelligence chief.
However, the agency does note that inclusion on the list does not mean federal investigators have found violations of securities laws, nor that any "judgments have been made" concerning securities offerings.
Instead, PAUSE should be considered a warning. As with any investment, you should conduct due diligence and research an offering -- and when it comes to cryptocurrency, this caution is just as important.
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