Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am a qualified lawyer happy to help you today.
I have checked and that trading company is not authorised according to the Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA). Not only that, the scam company has probably sold your data to another company which purports to recover your lost money - they are also scams most of the time. The red flags are if you are cold-called and also asked to pay money up front.
Therefore I am almost certain this is a scam and they have just taken your money.
The first thing to do is to report this to the Police and to Action Fraud so that you can obtain a crime reference number. The Action Fraud website where you can report the crime is here: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Once you have done that then see if your bank or credit card company can do a charge-back on the monies as a lot of these trading companies are not legitimate outfits. If you paid with a credit card you may be able to make a claim against the card provider. If you paid by debit card then your bank may be subscribed to the consumer voluntary code to refund you if you have been scammed. The bank can charge-back up to 120 days from the date you sent money or paid money to a scammer.
In future my advice is to check whether the trading company is FCA-regulated first of all to ensure they are legitimate. You can check here : https://register.fca.org.uk
The FCA website has a list of regulated companies so this would be worth checking. If you prefer to speak to the FCA then they can be reached on +44(###) ###-####
If there is no record, I would urge caution and do not give them your personal details, nor any money. The reason being if they are unregulated, there is nothing the FCA can do and in all likelihood the company is based abroad so suing them would be difficult if you wanted your money back. Most of these companies also ask for the initial £250 up front and tempt you to add more funds only for them to become non-responsive when you ask to withdraw.
There are a few companies who can claim to retrieve monies taken by a scammer but in reality they are also scams - once a scammer has the money it would be very difficult to sue them (being based abroad) and even if you obtained a CCJ against them, enforcing it is another matter.
You can try any of these regulated law firms to see if they can recover the money for you:
They should be able to help you with a no win no fee agreement so that you do not have to pay anything up front to them. These are regulated law firms in the UK and they should be able to help you even if you are based in South Africa.
I hope this helps, feel free to ask anything else.