With a smart looking website and a Madison Avenue, New York address, Steinberg Private Equity gives every appearance of being a firm worth dealing with:

Steinberg Private Equity is the leading consulting partner to the private equity industry and its key stakeholders… specialized in mergers, acquisitions, and operations of companies that provide mission-critical products, services, and solutions in diverse industries.

So they say. But they are on a list of businesses which have made unsolicited calls and emails to Australians and do not hold an Australian Financial Services license or Australian Credit License.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) says Australians lose millions of dollars every year to unlicensed overseas companies (as well as some operating in Australia) and strongly recommends that if you are contacted by any of these companies, do not deal with them.

Sadly the full list of unlicensed operators is hundreds of names long but here are some of the businesses that have been added recently:

  • Alliance Financial Advisory
  • LFG Investments Ltd t/a Option Rally
  • Spot Capital Markets Ltd t/a Milano Trade
  • Steinberg Private Equity
  • Fund Access Limited
  • Graphene Sensors Inc
  • Osborn & McKenzie International (O&MI)
  • Celivox Alliance
  • Beacon Commodities and Futures Exchange (BCFX)
  • Regional Regulatory Board


Which is the real regulator and which is fake?

Commodities Futures Trading Commission – www.cftc.org.au
Commodity Futures Trading Commission – www.cftc.gov

The latter is the real regulator. The first one is fake. Scammers claim to be regulated by an organisation that sounds like the real thing in order to gain your trust.

Other fake regulators include:
– American Futures and Options Exchange
– Hong Kong Financial Trading Authority
– Worldwide Securities Investment Comission

See ASIC’s fake regulator list here.

So what should you do if you are contacted by an unknown company about an investment or a loan?
  1. Check ASIC’s full unlicensed investment companies list. If they’re on the list, do not deal with them.
    If they’re not on the list…
  2. If they claim to be an investment company, search for their name on ASIC’s Professional Registers to see if they are an an ‘Australian Financial Services Licensee’ or ‘Australian Financial Services Authorised Representative’ (these are drop-down box options in ‘Select Register’).
  3. If they offer to loan you money, or to find you a loan, check the same register to see if they are a ‘Credit Licensee’, ‘Credit Representative’, or ‘Credit Registered Person’.

If the company or person is not licensed, do not deal with them and report them. Reporting them allows ASIC to warn others.

What are your thoughts?

Have you been a victim of one of these scams? Is there anything else you’d like to know about protecting yourself from fraud?

Join the conversation — leave a comment below and let us know what you’re thoughts are.

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