Canadian provincial regulator, the Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC), has warned the public about investing with unregistered binary options broker, Central Option, operating online as www.centraloption.com. According to the website, Central Option has offices in the UK, Hong Kong and Toronto, Canada. MSC has confirmed that Central Option is not registered to sell securities in Manitoba, or anywhere else in Canada, making it the latest broker to be added to the watchdog’s warning list, and the second time in a month that the company has been red-flagged.
On 30 March 2016, British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) also issued a warning about Central Option after it solicited British Columbia residents to open a binary options account with them.
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The latest warning concerns Manitoba resident Jason Roy who received a random call at his home on 11 April from binary options broker, Central Option, offering an “amazing investment opportunity.” Coincidentally, Roy, a senior investigator with the MSC, started a conversation with a so-called Sean Bessi from Central Option and began gathering evidence while pretending to be a potential high-value investor. Roy is also a member of the Canadian Securities Administrator’s (CSA) special working group on combating binary options investment fraud.
Bessi claimed to be working from Central Option’s office in Toronto and proceeded to solicit Central Option’s services, offering Roy a free education package and $100 credit to trade. He also repeatedly suggested funding the new account by using a credit card or wiring money. Any request to send money offshore to an unregistered firm is a red flag for investment fraud.
MSC has since confirmed that the Toronto office does not exist and that Central Option’s phone number is a VOIP number that forwards calls outside of the country.
MSC also issued a warning earlier this week against another unregistered binary options broker, FMTrader, which was added to the watchdog’s blacklist for unlawfully soliciting their services in Manitoba.