The Financial Services Board (FSB) has issued several warnings about operators in the financial services sphere that are doing business unlawfully or trying to scam you.

First, it says you should treat with suspicion an email with the subject line “non-residential permit”, purporting to be from HSBC Bank. Attached to the e-mail is a fake certificate bearing the FSB’s name and logo. According to the fake certificate, the recipient has complied with requirements to set up an online bank account for “an inheritance”.

HSBC Bank South Africa says such emails do not originate from its offices. The FSB also has no connection whatsoever to these emails or fake certificates.

It also warns against dealing with two local companies that are operating without licences:

Fidelity Loan Investment and its agents are not authorised in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act, to render financial advice and intermediary services. Fidelity Loan Investment is using a fake FSB certificate to dupe consumers into believing that it is a registered financial services provider.

Mpolokeng Financial Services, owned by Mpolokeng Sole, is also not authorised under the FAIS Act to render any financial advisory services. It is also not authorised in terms of the Long-term Insurance Act to carry on any kind of long-term insurance business. Mpolokeng, which apparently operates in Pretoria, Mabopane, Brits and surrounding areas, is selling funeral policies allegedly underwritten by “MFS”, an authorised financial services provider, but this information is false. The funeral policies it is selling are not underwritten by a registered insurance company, meaning that policyholders are not protected.

The FSB again reminds you to check beforehand whether or not a financial services provider is registered, either by calling its toll-free number (0800 110 443) or on its website,