Categories
Forex scam

ASIC Warns Public About HBC Broker

HBC Broker is the latest non-regulated forex brokerage that is flagged by ASIC

Another day another scam. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission better known as ASIC has finally updated its broker blacklist this past Tuesday. HBC Broker, additionally known as MPG Invest Limited has been scamming investors since they began operating back in 2016. After receiving enough complaints pertaining to their dubious and illegal business practices the Australian regulator decided that enough was enough and put them on their extensive broker blacklist.

The Australian regulator mentioned that HBC Broker does not possess an existing Australian Financial Services (AFS) license or an Australian Credit license from ASIC to offer financial services in Australia. It stressed that they could be involved in a scam.

HBC Broker – False Location, False Registration & False Regulation

Ironically, HBC Broker stands for “Honest Brokers Collaboration.” That quite honestly is the furthest thing from the truth. The fact that the company needs to state that they are honest raises quite a number of red flags. First off, they claim that they are headquartered in Armenia, 5 Shovroyan St, Yerevan, Armenia to be exact. However, upon further research, there is no office located in that location, just an empty building.

Secondly, the broker claims they started operating in 2010. A simple fact check on the website who.is says otherwise. In reality, the website was registered on 2016-03-07.

Thirdly, on the footer of the website, it says that HBC Broker is a “trading name of Trading Point Holdings LTD”, which is regulated by ASIC, FSP (New Zealand), CySEC, FCA and the MiFID.

However, Trading Point Holdings has no relation whatsoever to HBC Broker. In fact, Trading Point Holdings owns XM, which has all of these aforementioned regulations. If one looks at HBC’s Terms and Conditions one will see that the parent company is MPG Invest Limited.

United Kingdom’s FCA Already Outlawed HBC Broker

ASIC isn’t the first regulator to warn against HBC Broker/MPG Invest Limited. Last July, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a warning against the broker. The warning specifically states that the firm does not have the proper authorization to be soliciting British customers.

By the fact that at least two regulatory authorities (ASIC & the FCA) in separate countries have highlighted this company as suspicious and operating without any sort of license should give prospective investors considerable pause before initiating any type of relationship with the broker.

Are you an HBC Broker scam victim?

If you are the victim of an HBC Broker scam be sure to fill out this form and we will do our very best to get into contact with you as soon as we can

Categories
binary options online trading scam

Binary Options Scams Hurting Australia

Binary Options & other investment scams hit $340 million in 2017 in Australia

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has come out with a report stating that Australians forfeited more money to fraudsters in 2017 than in any other year. According to the ACCC’s yearly Targeting scams report, over 200,000 or so con reports were given to the ACCC, Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and other national and regional-based government organizations in 2017.

$40 million scam surge from 2016-2017

Never has it been this bad. Losses to scams have totaled more than $300 million for the first time ever, which demonstrates the growing impact of scams on Australians. Investment scams including binary options and forex led all losses at $64 million, a rise of more than 8 percent. Dating and romance scams came in second topping out $42 million.

Despite the fact binary options scams appear to have reduced in 2017 the average loss reported actually increased by a whopping 24%, from $32,744 to $43,085. This means that while there were fewer of them, these online trading scams became more effective at extracting large sums of money from victims. While binary options are not illegal per se in Australia, there are numerous professional looking offshore trading websites offering binary options investments that are complete scams.

Binary trading first appeared on the scene a decade ago around the time of the financial crisis in 2008. Many victims are lured in through adverts posted on social media and are attracted to the simplicity of the schemes. Despite the fact there are regulated binary options brokers they should be classified as gambling at best and not true investments.

How can I protect myself against binary options scammers?

For those who live in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s financial ombudsman, is responsible for the regulation of binary options companies. There are hundreds of companies on its warning list, and traders are instructed to check the FCA Register to see if a firm is authorized before investing money. They approximate that investors lost nearly £90,000 a day in 2017 on binary options scams.

If you choose to trade in binary options you should only use an FCA approved broker. If you use an unregulated company you will be more at risk of a scam and won’t have access to their help if things go wrong. You can check if a company is registered with the FCA here. No matter which country you reside in be sure to check the regulatory agency to see whether the online trading company is licensed to solicit their services.

I am the victim of a binary options scam, what do I do?

If you were the victim of a binary options trading scam be sure to make a complaint and we will do our utmost to help you get your money back.

Categories
binary options online trading scam

Canada’s Binary Options Problem

Canada’s recurring binary options problem

Approximately seven months ago the Canadian financial regulatory authorities enacted a ban on brokers offering binary options to all retail traders. Unfortunately, these actions seemed to have had little to no results on certain brokers that have implemented new tactics in order to gather money from unsuspecting investors.

On April 12th the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, more commonly referred to the IIROC cautioned Canadian traders not to be duped by fraudulent online trading brokers attempting to unlawfully sell binary options under the pretense of legitimate brokers regulated by the IIROC.

Binary options scams still exist

Recently the ombudsman has been made aware of at least two brokers that misleadingly state that they are regulated by IIROC:

  • CFDtradeoption.com – run by Westrade Holdings, Inc;
  • Globaloptionsmarket.net.

Binary options cannot be offered or sold to retail traders in Canada and the regulator has issued plenty of warnings, imploring Canadian citizens not to invest in these fraudulent companies. Under no circumstances are IIROC regulated entities authorized to sell binary options to retail investors in Canada.

This troubling tendency is bringing up concerns about how effective a blanket ban on offering of such toxic products as binaries to stop scams. ESMA, the European Securities and Markets Authority has recently put in rules that prohibit regulated brokers from offering binary options to retail investors. However, these recent developments in Canada call into question on whether a ban in Europe would, in fact, produce the wanted effect.

Opposition to the binary options ban

It should be noted that when the Canadian regulatory authorities first suggested to ban binary options, the proposal encountered stern opposition. The Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC), which represents 130 Dealer Member firms regulated by IIROC, asserted that the injunction should only include binary options scams offered by unregulated binary options brokers. The IIAC further maintained that its members should be allowed to offer binary options to retail traders.

Interestingly enough there have been proposals to allow trading binary options on an exchange, as this is allowed in the United States. However, opposed to that line of thinking are organizations such as the Canadian Advocacy Council for Canadian CFA Institute Societies (CAC), which heavily supported the binary options ban proposal and even went beyond it by questioning the status of OTC (Over the Counter) or more commonly known as retail Forex trading. The council questioned whether the sale of similar financial instruments to retail investors should additionally be restricted.

Get help now

If you were the victim of binary options or any online trading scam be sure to fill out our complaint form here and one of our representatives will get in touch with you.

Categories
binary options online trading scam

Beware of Recovery Scams

Secured Trade Investment: The latest recovery scam

For those who were the victims of online trading scams it is as one scam victim said to me, “living in never-ending nightmare”. Many do not know where to turn. For those who seek help, there is another sinister scam that has reared its ugly head: Recovery scams. Preying on those who were victimized, they actively solicit their fraudulent services, often with a guarantee that they can recover the lost funds. One company, in particular, is Secured Trade Investment.

It never ends

This “recovery” firm is the latest scam to further add a black mark on the online trading industry. They convince individuals that have been scammed by binary options brokers in particular that they can recover their stolen funds. However, in reality, that is just a ruse. Almost always, they demand a heavy upfront fee and do nothing, which means a second loss for the victim.

Made-up team members and fictitious testimonials are the most misleading elements found on the site. Supposedly Owen Beamont is the CEO and Mathew Macleod is the Assistant Manager of Secured Trade Investment but research has shown that both of these individuals do not exist.  These two invented identities are nothing more than images generated from an online image bank.

When viewing the contact information on the website we are given two separate addresses, the first being 7 Triton Square, Regent’s Place, London NW1 3HG UK. Unsurprisingly, when this address is entered into a Google search query the company that matches this address is not Secured Trade Investment. Additionally, the second address, 1270 E Broadway Rd, Tempe, AZ 85282 is associated with a different business

What is most disturbing about Secured Trade Investment is that they seem to be directly conspiring with the very same fraudulent forex and binary options brokers. Numerous individuals have told us that Secured Trade Investment had their information before they submitted their claim.

Take action today

It is without a shadow of a doubt that Secured Trade Investment is an online trading recovery scam. If you were the victim of any recovery scam be sure to let us know and we will do our best to assist you. Additionally, if you have any suspicions about any recovery service be sure to alert Broker Complaint Registry.

Categories
binary options online trading scam

FCA Flags Binary Options Broker

Binary options broker PlusOption caught by FCA

A few weeks ago on the 12th of March, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) provided the public with information pertaining to an unregulated ‎binary options broker, Plusoption, operating under several brands, which have been providing professional ‎investment services to UK residents without regulatory authorization.‎

No FCA License

The ombudsman warned that Plusoption has no association of any kind with any FCA-licensed entity. Additionally, they mentioned that it specifically operated and targeted UK citizens without a license.

Plusoption runs through www.plusoption.com and has implemented numerous associated brands including Redfield Markets, Tradeplus Solutions Ltd and ACV Operations S.R.L. The FCA cautions that this is a prototypical move for a fraudulent company to gain the confidence of unsuspecting consumers.

The FCA has been very active in cracking down on binary options and in addition to issuing regular warnings, it published in January a list of 94 firms that offer trading to UK investors without approval.

In step with practices across most of the European Union, the FCA has incorporated certain kinds of binary options within its regulatory perimeter together with the implementation of the MiFID II, which came into play back on January 3, 2018.

The binary options blacklist

The watchdog keeps a “blacklist” of binary option brokers based upon evidence received from customers, various partner agencies and from monitoring the online market.

Further action implemented

It is important to note the FCA is not the only government agency to move against binary options. In what the UK police categorized as the largest operation of its kind, officers pounced on the headquarters of 20 binary options brokers in order to examine their compliance forms and gather intelligence on various forms of investment fraud.

More than 80k Pounds a day lost to binary options

The ombudsman’s research in this area discovered the majority of investors who trade in binary options lose their funds and that traders lost an average of £87,410 per day over the duration of 2017.

Broker Complaint Registry has received numerous complaints pertaining to this broker If you are the victim of a binary options or any online trading scam be sure to file a complaint today.

Categories
binary options online trading scam

Sweden Tackles Binary Options

Online trading schemes are rampant in Sweden

Binary options fraud was among the top concerns of the Swedish financial regulator Finansinspektionen in 2017 (FI). According to its annual report for 2017 binary options were among the primary reasons for issuing warnings in Sweden over the past year and a bit.

In 2017, the FI published warnings pertaining to approximately 1,129 financial companies that conduct their operations in the Swedish market without proper regulation and oversight. Although these warnings primarily targeted equity-related fraud, they additionally included numerous binary options  schemes. FI made a decision after receiving 18 cases. Most of the warnings were came from foreign agencies.

Binary Options, a problem across Europe

The numbers are in line with recent data provided by other regulators in Europe. For instance, Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) reported in February that it received 1,710 notifications from consumers about various financial matters in 2017, up 13% compared to 2016. Nearly half of the inquiries were questions or complaints relating to fraud and unlawful offers of financial products and services. There were 792 such messages in 2017, up by 45% compared to the previous year.

The messages reporting fraud or unlawful offers primarily concerned binary options, boiler rooms, pyramid and Ponzi schemes and ‘phishing’. New issues in 2017 included credit fraud, virtual currencies, and diamond investment fraud. The FSMA released over 115 warnings last year, a 70% increase from 2016. Additionally, the FSMA put out 46 warnings concerning boiler rooms, and 42 about fraud related to binary options.

Although the Swedish watchdog does not layout any specific plans pertaining to binary options, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is strongly considering banning these instruments. ESMA wants to pass a law prohibiting anyone or company from promoting, distributing or selling binary options to retail clientele.

Other countries are taking action

Even Norway, which is not a member of the European Union but is a part of the EEA, is planning to enact strict procedures pertaining to binary options. The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet) demands that advertising, selling and distribution of binary options to non-professional clients in Norway or from Norway is forbidden. The watchdog stresses that on several occasions, it has investigated foreign binary options providers that have targeted Norwegian investors without a proper license. Finanstilsynet notes that these companies employ ultra-aggressive marketing approaches and fail to mention the necessary risk warnings.

Contact us

If you have been scammed by an online trading broker, be sure to file a complaint here and we will do our best to get back to you as quickly as we can.

Categories
bitcoin BTC Global cryptocurrency scam

BTC Global – A Huge Ponzi Scheme

Oh No! Another Cryptocurrency Scam

Since Bitcoin was created back in 2008, there have been numerous shady individuals and companies for that matter that have used the hype to their advantage to facilitate cryptocurrency scams. These shrewd schemes conned thousands upon thousands of people who knew virtually nothing about cryptocurrency but wanted to invest in this alluring venture. 2018 is underway but here is this year’s top cryptocurrency scam thus far:

BTC Global

Just a little over two weeks ago BTC Global collapsed and Broker Complaint Registry has received numerous complaints pertaining to this fraudulent broker. The company claimed to be an exclusive platform providing unparalleled earnings through valid binary trading services, but that was unfortunately not the case. Here are excerpts from there website:

“We are backed by our founding trader at Steven Twain.”

This “Steven Twain” character is not a real individual.

“Steven has 6 years of experience trading binary options with consistent success, over the last 3 years he has started providing trading services for other large account holders ($10,000+ only).”

I have not come across any trading history pertaining to Steven Twain.

“Through our partnership with Steven, BTC Global have secured access to guaranteed 14% WEEKLY returns from as little as $1,000 in your account. We have also secured extra returns to pay out as referral commissions should you decide to share this opportunity with others! There are very few legitimate opportunities to get the kind of returns on investment BTC Global is offering so we encourage you to get involved as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

How can a legitimate company guarantee any sort of returns?

In BTC Global there were two ways one could earn:

  1. Return on investment, which was 14% of the dollar amount that was invested, paid weekly in BTC.
  2. Team shares or commissions on the people that the investor recruited or referred (think of a pyramid scheme).

BTC Global – a textbook Ponzi scheme.

The definition of a Ponzi scheme is as follows:

A deceitful investing scam guaranteeing high rates of return with little to no risk to investors. The Ponzi scheme produces returns for earlier investors by procuring new investors. BTC Global certainly fits the bill

Investment values generally go up and down over a duration of time, especially the ones that offer potentially high yields. If an investment consistently generates the same returns despite the market conditions or guarantees these high returns that is cause for pause.

Additionally, Ponzi schemes usually involve investments that have not been registered with the SEC, FSB or any other regulatory agency. Obviously, registration is pivotal as enables investors to access pivotal information pertaining to the firm’s management, services, products and most importantly finances.

Lastly and most importantly if you do not receive a “scheduled” payment or incur difficulty when trying to cash out your investment that is the biggest red flag. Those who promote Ponzi schemes regularly ask investors to “roll over” investments and often promise returns in excess of the amount that was rolled over.

How to protect yourself from a cryptocurrency scam

Although we have just talked about the BTC Global scam, this is not the only one. The very best way to ensure your funds are safe is to know how to identify and avoid ponzi schemes like BTC Global.

Stay far away from ICOs, unidentified companies and companies that do not provide suitable information. Be sure that creator’s names and all team members are publicly listed and verified and, if reviews give consistent negative feedback it best to avoid that cryptocurrency broker.

If you or anyone you know was scammed by BTC Global please fill out the following form and we will do our best to try to come up with potential solutions.

Categories
bitcoin cryptocurrency scam

Cryptocurrency – The Next Scam?

Cryptocurrency: What is it?

Cryptocurrencies, today’s biggest investment fad is dominating the headlines. Take Bitcoin, the most famous (and perhaps the most notorious) cryptocurrency has exploded in popularity over the last calendar year, despite the fact that it has been around for nearly a decade. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of bitcoin, however, most do not know about the details behind the enigmatic cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that was created by Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2008. However, the name Nakamoto is really an alias for an unidentified person, or group of people, who developed Bitcoin. Although there are numerous cryptocurrencies accessible now, Bitcoin has become the most popular one for investors.

Bitcoin was developed is such a way to evade tight government control on currencies while making online transactions simpler. The primary technology behind Bitcoin is a blockchain, a digital ledger in which public transactions made in cryptocurrencies are documented in a universal network of computers.

An ICO not an IPO

An ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is an unregulated fundraising mechanism that is used for a new cryptocurrency undertaking.

Here’s how it works: Say a company is trying to streamline a car service payment system so that it can be digital and encrypted. Sounds like a good idea. Let’s name it CarCoin. The company will then produce a document basically specifying exactly how the process will work (generally called a white paper). Additionally, they will create an eye-catching website and describe why CarCoin is a great idea that could be very beneficial. Then, the company will ask for people to send them money (typically Bitcoin or Ether, but they’ll also take fiat). In return, the company will send them back some CarCoin. The “investors” hope that CarCoin will be used a lot and be high in circulation, which could potentially raise the value of the currency.

This is sort of like an initial public offering (IPO), where investors buy shares of a company. However, unlike an IPO investing in an ICO doesn’t award you an ownership stake in the company or startup you’re giving money to. You are hoping that in this instance, CarCoin currently a worthless currency, will ultimately increase in value down the line and make you money.

Oh, what a scam!

Unfortunately, whenever there is money to be made the swindlers are never far behind. This is especially true at the ICO stage. Anyone can launch an ICO as there is very little regulation in most countries such as the United States. This means that as long as you got the tech aspect set up you can get yourself funded. This obviously can result in one of two things: potential profit for an investor or massive scams. The cryptocurrency market is perfect for scammers because it’s relatively new, backed by tons of hype, and comprises of complex technology. It’s easier to sucker someone into investing in your ICO in 2018 than your bogus real estate business—and unfortunately, plenty of people have.

Fake bitcoin brokers

Unfortunately, whenever a new investment opportunity pops up there are plenty of fake brokers to go along with it and cryptocurrency is no different. Take Bitcoinopts for example. This “broker” does not allow you to buy and sell bitcoins or let you “watch your profit grow as we trade daily”. Rather they profit off of your deposit and never allow you to withdraw. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Many of these cryptocurrency brokers are the same fraudulent binary options brokers operating under a different brand. It has become so rampant that Facebook has instituted a blanket ban for all ads pertaining to Bitcoin, ICO’s and other cryptocurrencies

Report these cryptocurrency scams.

It is important to remember that not every ICO is a fraud, and many cryptocurrency startups are legitimate. However, the duplicitous, mostly unregulated cryptocurrency investment landscape is plagued with lots of fraudulent schemes. If you were the unfortunate victim of a cryptocurrency scam or you know of someone who was, be sure to raise a complaint here.

 

 

.

 

 

Categories
Forex OTCapital scam

Regulated Forex Scams? You Bet

Yes, Regulated Forex Brokers Commit Scams

When one typically hears the phrase “forex scam” one automatically assumes that it is being perpetrated by an unlicensed or unregulated forex broker. For the most part, that assumption is correct. All you have to do is a quick google search and you will find numerous articles detailing reprehensible acts committed by unregulated forex and binary options brokers. However, there have been numerous instances of regulated forex brokers skirting the rules.

Not all regulated brokers are trustworthy

Unfortunately, there are numerous regulated forex brokers that have defrauded unsuspecting clientele as well. Last year on the CFTC slapped a $7 million fine on Forex Capital Markets (FXCM) in a civil monetary penalty for engaging in fraudulent and misleading solicitations, spanning from September 4, 2009, through at least 2014.

Additionally, the CFTC emphasized that FXCM had misrepresented that its ‘No Dealing Desk’ trading platform had no conflicts of interest with its clientele. Instead of running a true ECN execution platform where trades are performed directly in the interbank market, their clientele’s trades would be redirected to a Effex Capital LLC, which was originally designated to be an independent market maker but was, in reality, an extension of FXCM. Effex Capital would take very aggressive forex trades against the investors in order that they would lose and in return, FXCM would be the beneficiary of some very high kickbacks, which they received under the table from FXCM.

FXCM barred from the U.S.

Because of their duplicitous practices, the CFTC withdrew their regulation and FXCM was no longer allowed to service U.S. customers. Additionally, FXCM was caught by the FCA in yet another forex scam. They took away their investors’ positive swaps, causing them to only receive negative swaps. Surprisingly, the FCA did not remove their regulation.

Beware of OTCapital

OTCapital, forex broker regulated by ASIC has been swindling numerous investors. Broker Complaint Registry has received numerous complaints from those who have been victimized by their reprehensible practices. Complaints have ranged from not allowing clients to withdraw their earnings to never receiving a call back after they had deposited. Unfortunately, ASIC has not taken any action against OTCapital.

Protect yourself from a forex scam

Before you deposit money with a broker you must first make sure that the broker is regulated by an entity such as the CFTC, FCA, ASIC or the IIROC. Remember not all regulatory bodies are created equal. For example, if the broker that you are interested in has only a CySEC (Cyprus) regulation it would be wise to steer clear. Although they have gotten tougher on rulebreakers, CySEC is still lax in numerous areas.

Additionally, do your research. This means reading reviews, looking at various forums, and so on. It is not enough that the broker you are interested in has a regulation. You must vet them.

If you were the victim of a forex scam be sure to make a complaint here and we will do our utmost to get back to you as soon as we can.

Categories
binary options online trading scam

Binary Options: A Sickening Scam

The Art of a Binary Options Scam

Binary options, fraudulent “trading products” that are designed to part prospective investors from their money are very different from real options. In essence, they are simply a bet that the price of a particular asset will rise in a given time frame. If you win the gamble, the company is supposed to pay a fixed payout, within the 70%-95% range. If you lose, however, you not only lose the “payout” but the initial investment as well.

If this was merely the case this would fall under the category of gambling, something that millions upon millions of individuals do recreationally. However, that is primarily not the case. With almost all binary options brokers you are “trading” against the broker and not the market. The broker wants you to lose, or else the company would not make a profit. Even if the broker pays out your winnings he can easily govern your profit with payout conditions. This means that even if you have a winning formula, the company will just decrease the payout, ensuring you ultimately lose in the long term.

There is more to the scam

That, unfortunately, is not where it ends. Numerous “brokers” are notorious for spreading fictitious stories about their clientele making gigantic profits with trading robots. Almost all of them manipulate their price curves to prevent you from winning. What’s worse is even if you do win, many of them refuse to pay out, and ultimately drop off the face of the earth (with your money).

Now clients are left in with a major dilemma. To whom do they turn? To the police? To regulators? The answer to these questions is that it depends. Most of these binary options brokers are not regulated and are located offshore, allowing them to do what they want. Often in their terms and conditions, they concoct various rules that ensure they keep your money once they have it. When it comes to regulators such as ASIC or the FCA they are relatively useless as they cannot shut down the actual binary options websites and to make it even worse search engines such as Google allow these websites to appear in their search content.

Shouldn’t the banks put a stop to this?

Yes, they should. However, the banks, which should be the number one line of defense against these scams either do not know the extent of the problem or are turning a blind eye to their nefarious activities. Additionally, in order to process credit card, debit card payments most of the binary options brokers have registered a small company in an E.U. country.

Recovery scams

Unfortunately, fraud encourages more fraud. Various individuals targeted U.S. citizens who were swindled by the now-defunct brokerage, Banc de Binary, and a few other binary options companies that were being sued by the SEC or the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission). They impersonated SEC officials as part of an advanced-fee fraud scheme in which they deceived victims into forwarding them money. Approximately 95 individuals were targeted by this despicable scheme and 25 of them sent 235 thousand dollars in total to these swindlers.

Light at the end of the tunnel

There are numerous service providers that Broker Complaint Registry recommends. For those who deposited an online trading company via credit or debit card, MyChargeBack can certainly assist you. There are various law firms that can help as well. If you or someone you know was the victim of an online trading scam, submit a complaint here and we will do our very best to refer you to a feasible solution.