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How to detect Binary Options scams
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Much of the binary options market operates through Internet-based trading platforms that are not necessarily complying with applicable U.S. regulatory requirements and may be engaging in illegal activity. Investors should be aware of fraudulent promotion schemes involving binary options and binary options trading platforms.
What is a Binary Option?
A binary option is a type of options contract in which the payout depends entirely on the outcome of a yes/no proposition and typically relates to whether the price of a particular asset will rise above or fall below a specified amount. Once the option is acquired, there is no further decision for the holder to make regarding the exercise of the binary option because binary options exercise automatically. Unlike other types of options, a binary option does not give the holder the right to buy or sell the specified asset. When the binary option expires, the option holder receives either a pre-determined amount of cash or nothing at all.
Investor Complaints Relating To Fraudulent Binary Options Trading Platforms
The SEC has received numerous complaints of fraud associated with websites that offer an opportunity to buy or trade binary options through Internet-based trading platforms. The complaints fall into at least three categories:
- Refusal to credit customer accounts or reimburse funds to customers
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These complaints typically involve customers who have deposited money into their binary options trading account and who are then encouraged by “brokers” over the telephone to deposit additional funds into the customer account. When customers later attempt to withdraw their original deposit or the return they have been promised, the trading platforms allegedly cancel customers’ withdrawal requests, refuse to credit their accounts, or ignore their telephone calls and emails.
- Identity theft
These complaints allege that certain Internet-based binary options trading platforms may be collecting customer information (including copies of customers’ credit cards, passports, and driver’s licenses) for unspecified uses. Do not provide personal data.
- Manipulation of software to generate losing trades
These complaints allege that the Internet-based binary options trading platforms manipulate the trading software to distort binary options prices and payouts. For example, when a customer’s trade is “winning,” the countdown to expiration is extended arbitrarily until the trade becomes a loss.
Beware of Overstated Investment Returns for Binary Options
Additionally, some binary options Internet-based trading platforms may overstate the average return on investment by advertising a higher average return on investment than a customer should expect, given the payout structure.
For example, a customer may be asked to pay $50 for a binary option contract that promises a 50% return if the stock price of XYZ company is above $5 per share when the option expires. Assuming a 50/50 chance of winning, the payout structure has been designed in such a way that the expected return on investment is actually negative, resulting in a net loss to the customer. This is because the consequence if the option expires out of the money (approximately a 100% loss) significantly outweighs the payout if the option expires in the money (approximately a 50% gain). In this example, an investor could expect — on average — to lose money.
Always Check the Background of a Firm or Financial Professional
Before investing, check out the background, including registration or license status, of any firm or financial professional you are considering dealing with through the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) database, available on Investor.gov, and the National Futures Association Background Affiliation Status Information Center’s BASIC Search. If you cannot verify that they are registered, don’t trade with them, don’t give them any money, and don’t share your personal information with them.
The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has provided this information as a service to investors. It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy. If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.
Binary Options Fraud
A Word of Warning to the Investing Public
Stock options. It’s a pretty common investment term meaning, in general, that one party sells or offers to another party the opportunity to invest by buying a particular stock at an agreed upon price within a certain period of time. All perfectly legal and highly regulated—and if the investor takes advantage of the opportunity and the stock performs well, there’s money to be made. And if the stock doesn’t perform well, the investor knew the risk.
But here’s another similar-sounding financial term that the public should be wary of—binary options. While some binary options are listed on registered exchanges or traded on a designated contract market and are subject to oversight by U.S. regulators like the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), much of the binary options market operates through websites that don’t comply with U.S. regulations. And many of those unregulated websites are being used by criminals outside the U.S. as vehicles to commit fraud.
Binary options fraud is a growing problem and one that the FBI currently has in its crosshairs. In 2020, our Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received four complaints—with reported losses of just more than $20,000—from binary options fraud victims. Fast forward five years, and the IC3 received hundreds of complaints with millions of dollars in reported losses during 2020. And those numbers only reflect victims who reported being fleeced to the IC3—the true extent of the fraud, which has victims around the world, isn’t fully known. Some European countries have reported that binary options fraud complaints now constitute 25 percent of all the fraud complaints received.
What exactly is a binary option? It’s a type of options contract in which the payout depends entirely on the outcome of a yes/no proposition, typically related to whether the price of a particular asset—like a stock or a commodity—will rise above or fall below a specified amount. Unlike regular stock options, with binary options you’re not being given the opportunity to actually buy a stock or a commodity—you’re just betting on whether its price will be above or below a certain amount by a certain time of the day.
For example: You expect the price of an individual stock will be above $80 at 3:30 p.m. today. So you buy a binary option that allows you to place this bet at a cost of $60. If, at 3:30 p.m., the stock price is $80.01, your payout is $100, for a profit of $40. If the price of the stock at 3:30 is $79.99, you lose your $60. Of course, you can buy multiple binary options, which can significantly increase your winnings as well as your losses.
So where does the fraud come into it? The perpetrators behind many of the binary options websites, primarily criminals located overseas, are only interested in one thing—taking your money. Complaints about their activities generally fall into one of three categories:
The perpetrators behind many of the binary options websites, primarily criminals located overseas, are only interested in one thing—taking your money.
- Refusal to credit customer accounts or reimburse funds to customers. This is usually done by cancelling customers’ withdrawal requests, ignoring customer phone calls and e-mails, and sometimes even freezing accounts and accusing the customers themselves of fraud.
- Identity theft. Representatives of binary options websites may falsely claim that the government requires photocopies of your credit card, passport, driver’s license, utility bills, or other personal data. This information could potentially be used to steal your identity.
- Manipulation of trading software. Some of these Internet trading platforms may be reconfiguring the algorithms they use in order to purposely generate losing trades, often by distorting prices and payouts. For example, if a customer has a winning trade, the expiration time is extended until the trade becomes a loss.
Fraudulent binary options website operators go to great lengths to recruit investors. They advertise their platforms—often on social networking sites, various trading websites, message boards, and spam e-mail—with big promises of easy money, low risk, and superior customer service. Potential investors are also cold-called from boiler room operations, where high-pressure salespeople use banks of phones to make as many calls as possible to offer “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities.
What’s being done to combat binary options fraud? The FBI currently has a number of ongoing binary options fraud cases, working with partners like the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). And this past January, the Bureau organized the 2020 Binary Options Fraud Summit held at Europol in The Hague, bringing together law enforcement and regulators from throughout North America and Europe to discuss the growing binary options fraud problem.
Special Agent Milan Kosanovich, who works out of our Criminal Investigative Division’s Complex Financial Crimes Unit, was one of the FBI’s representatives at this gathering. “The summit,” he said, “gave all of us the chance to sit down and talk about what we’ve discovered through our respective binary options fraud investigations, where the challenges are, and how we can all work together.”
One of the biggest challenges law enforcement faces, according to Kosanovich, is the fact that the scammers are sophisticated and have operations spanning multiple countries. “So the key to addressing this type of fraud,” he continued, “is national and international coordination between regulatory agencies, law enforcement, and the financial industry.”
Another important factor, said Kosanovich, is investor awareness and education. “Investors need to be aware of the significant potential for fraud on binary options websites, and they need to make sure they do their due diligence before ever placing that first trade or bet.”
What Can You Do to Avoid Being Victimized
- Make sure that the binary options trading platform you’re interested in has registered its offer and sale of its products with the SEC. (Registration provides investors with key information about the terms of the products being offered). To do this, you can use the Security Exchange Commission’s (SEC) EDGAR Company Filing website.
- Check to see if the trading platform itself is registered as an exchange at the SEC’s Exchanges website.
- Ensure that the trading platform is a designated contract market by checking the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CTFC) Designated Contract Markets website. Thousands of entities promote binary options trading in the U.S., but only two are currently authorized to do so by the CFTC.
- Check out the registration status and background of any firm or financial professional you are considering dealing with. You can do this through the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency’s BrokerCheck website and the National Futures Association Background Affiliation Status Information Center.
- Take a look at the CFTC’s RED List, which contains the names of unregistered foreign entities that CFTC has reason to believe are soliciting and accepting funds from U.S. residents at a retail level for, among other things, binary options.
- Finally, don’t invest in something you don’t understand. If you can’t explain the investment opportunity in a few words and in an understandable way, you may need to reconsider the potential investment.
Source: Investor.gov (SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy/CFTC’s Office of Consumer Outreach)
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How to Avoid Online Trading Scams
If you are new to the world of binary options trading, then you may be experiencing some confusion when it comes to choosing a broker or other services such as robots and signals. How do you know if you are selecting a genuine or a fake company and what is a typical binary option scam?
Identifying the difference between the two can be hard. Often these schemes are so convincing that they resemble legitimate companies and traders cannot spot the difference. There are differences, however, and by carrying out some research, you will be able to identify those brokers, robots and signal services that are legitimate and those that you should avoid.
From the licensing to whether they offer a demo platform to carry out “practise trading” with virtual money, there are critical differences between the real thing and those that will leave a bitter taste and a big hole in your product. To make sure you get the best out of your trading experience it helps to know how to spot the difference.
In this guide, you will learn:
A typical example of a binary options scam The reasons that these fake brokers exist How to avoid losing money yourself to scams
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A Typical Scam Example
There are a few investment scams to be wary of if you want to trade binary options, some more common than others. Many of them are operated online while others take place over the phone. In many instances, the trader starts their search online which returns many results; if you type the term “binary options broker” into Google, there are over a million search returns.
Now for every genuine company, there could be as many as ten fake websites claiming to be the real deal. Many of them are websites set up to look like brokers with all the terminology, graphics, customer testimonials and social media profiles (which are all fake). What the thieves do is encourage you to sign-up to the trading platforms, make a minimum deposit of $250 and then that’s it, your money is gone.
In this example, there is no binary trading platform to use. Some brokers will go so far as to call you claiming to be a senior advisor and asking you to make a higher deposit. Now while it seems like they wouldn’t get away with this for very long what they do is set up under multiple names so that they can scam lots of people in a short space of time.
Like any fake trading scam or fraudulent activity, they exist because they are a method for dishonest people to make money.
Why Binary Scams Exist
Like any scam or fraud activity, they exist because they are a method for dishonest people to make easy money. Since the introduction of binary trading, there have been people setting up fraudulent websites and conning people out of their money. As long as people are willing to part with their money, there will always be people that want to take it from you. Because the gains can be large with online trading people are willing to take high risk.
If the dishonest few want to make money quickly without any morals when it comes to ripping people off, they will use every trick in the book to make it happen. This particular industry is an easy target because all trading takes place online, is not always regulated and often people don’t know how to spot the real thing from the fake.
Rogue binary options brokers even go so far as to ring people up offering them unbeatable deals if they make a deposit using a credit card or bank transfer, and guess what? Yes, you make your deposit never to see them again and, you lose money forever. Even worse, they use your personal information in identity theft scams, further causing harm.
How You Can Spot a Scam
If you know what you are looking for, then it becomes much easier to spot the genuine companies from the investment scams. Ask yourself this though “does it look too good to be true?” If the answer is yes, then it probably is too good to be true. If someone is promising to return $1,000 in 5 minutes for doing nothing, then be wary and probe further.
Check out the credentials of the company. If you can’t find the broker listed on any of the popular review sites or there is little or no evidence that they are a real company then the chances they aren’t. Be wary of companies offering the ability of trading binary options using signal providers or management services. This sector of the industry is high risk.
There are also lots of binary options trading scams that have been uncovered already, like the famous “Google Trader scams”. These will come up like a beacon when searched in Google with lots of entries about them from disgruntled traders on various forums. Just typing the name into a search engine is often enough to discover if this particular options broker has been hitting the latest news headlines and is operating under false pretences.
How to Avoid Being a Victim
There are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure that you don’t become the victim of a binary options fraud. Firstly you need to ensure that any broker, robot software or signal service that you use are reputable. You can tell this from their licensing. Make sure they have Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) or other recognised licensing. Check their online reviews, feedback and whether there is an undeniable history of unethical trading.
The next step is to see whether they offer a free demo account. If you can sign up to a brokers platform and trade with a demo account before depositing any funds, this will give you a good idea as to whether it is a real broker or whether it is just a dummy website set up to take your money.
When it comes to phone calls that come from people claiming to be a senior adviser, then be very wary. If they are calling you with “a deal that is too good to miss”, don’t make any deposit. Calls like this are a common ruse, and they will ask you to make an investment that will disappear.
Now while there are risks and fraudulent websites out there, which you should avoid at all costs, this shouldn’t deter you from trading the market. You need to ensure that you choose your broker wisely and that they are a licensed firm with an excellent online reputation so you dont pay the price for it later. For more help and advice on online scams or binary scams in general, please visit the resources below;
Shelly is proud of her current position as Head of Brand for a well-known organisation that owns several brokerages in the trading sector. She’s consulted for us since 2020 and readers can benefit from her insider knowledge of how brokers work.
Binary Option Scams
When it comes to Binary Options, there have been quite a few examples of people who have been taken for a ride by a Broker and have lost a large amount of money. Binary Option Scams are quite common and come down to a number of factors including improper due diligence and manipulation by the broker.
This is an unfortunate situation as it has tainted the image of Binary Options in it’s entirety. Despite the many bad actors on the market, there are good opportunities to connect with honest brokers who treat their clients with the respect that they deserve.
However, finding these particular brokers can be challenging. It is for this reason that we have developed a short guide to spotting the scammers, identifying their schemes and finding the ideal broker to trade with on an ongoing basis.
Typical Binary Option Scams
When it comes to scams in the Binary Options industry, the saying “if it’s too good to be true” rings true. If you come across a broker or signal provider or any binary options agent online that is promising outlandish returns with very little risk, then your alarm bells should be ringing. Although trading Binary Options can yield a trader success in the long term, it requires analysis and dedication.
This is where new traders often tend to trip up. Without knowing any of the binary options basics they think that trading trading them is a panacea that will solve all of their problems. This is why most people who fall for these typical scams are left with a horrible experience of the industry.
The Software Scam
We have come across the software scam quite a few times and it tends to be one the most noticeable scams in the binary options industry. What this usually involves is some “revolutionary” software that has been secretly developed. Usually, you are presented with a video where a presenter will take you through a story of how effective the software is. Apart from some of the wild claims that are made in video, to the untrained eye it may appear as a semi legitimate offer.
However, using some mere common sense would avoid the trader any pain. Firstly, if the software was indeed revolutionary and only made profits, why is it not the exclusive property of a wall street hedge fund? Why would they offer it for free to the general public to use? Moreover, why would a legitimate broker continually allow a trader to use money making software on their platform? Surely this would hurt their bottom line? The Reality is indeed far from this .
These software proposals are merely scams that are an effective marketing tool for the broker. Once you have entered your details, a broker will call you up and try to get you to deposit the minimum with said broker and you then very quickly and effectively lose your money. This is a win for the broker and the affiliate marketer who provided you with the software.
These are usually easy to spot. They use terms like “guaranteed profit”, “totally risk free” with a whole host of other wild claims. They also try to make it look as if there is some urgency to the deposit. You can an example below.
Another typical sign that is usually presented with Scam software are the fake testimonials . We have seen them all. Essentially it is a group of some really well taken and good looking people who give their glowing opinion of the software. We are also often surprised at the extent of bad spelling in these testimonials. Moreover, the traders in the testimonials all have outlandish returns and are from all walks of life. Some of them even claim that they will be quitting their jobs in order to trade binary options with the software! Below are some samples from another offering.
As mentioned, returns that seem to always be positive with no risk of any losses should be viewed with suspicion . Binary Options trading involves some degree of risk and you should have appropriate money management strategies in place when trading them. The mere idea that you can switch on this profitable trading software and only achieve winning trades seems quite sketchy to us. Moreover, who is collecting all the information on these winning trades? Is the broker willingly sharing data and information with the software provider. These are all red flags and you should tread cautiously with information like this below.
The Broker Managed Account
This is another type of scam that we have come across quite frequently. Essentially, a broker will offer a client the opportunity to use one of their “trading professionals” at the company. These are supposed to be ex wall street veterans who can generate you returns that most hedge funds would dream of. These professional traders require you to make incredibly large deposits with the broker to make use of their services. This is generally suspicious to us as they are being referred by the broker. Why would the broker offer you a trader to make money at their expense?
Another type of scam that we have witnessed are signal providers who offer you free signals from their professional traders for a limited time period. Similar to the software scam, they usually only work with a friendly broker who is in on the scam and they present a number of fake testimonials along with supposed trading records. Once you have been on the signals for a certain time period, they offer to manage the account full time for you, subject to very strict withdrawal and lockup periods. This is indeed a red flag as the trader should theoretically always have access to their funds .
Just before you are able to realise your profits at the end of the lock up period, the trader loses all of your money and disappears. On some occasions, the provider themselves present fraudulent documents that they get the client to sign. These are not worth the paper they are written on .
Beware the Bonus
Another dangerous binary option scam that is offered by the broker is a signing bonus. These bonuses often appear to be a generous but come with numerous caveats, which are often impossible to overcome. These include trading the entire bonus amount over a particular limit. We have heard stories from some of our members where they would have to trade up to 13 times their bonus amount in order to withdraw this funds. By this time, the client has either lost all hope or lost all their money.
Although these bonuses are opt-in we have also heard stories from members who were given the bonus despite opting-out. This moves from being a mere contractual snag to a straightforward Binary Options Scam.
Scams and Blacklist
Scams are unfortunately all too common in the field of binary options. Dishonest brokers and reviews, or rigged robots and other auto trading services – the scams can come in many forms. So we feel it’s necessary to create this blacklist and list all known frauds and dishonest techniques in one place. We also go through the steps you can take to identify a potential scam and how to deal with the situation after the fact if you’re already a victim. If you know or suspect something is a scam, and we’re missing it on our blacklist, please let us know and we will look into it!
Why Are Stories of Scams So Common?
When any new financial instrument or form of trading first emerges, a whole range of businesses tend to get involved. It’s a fact of life that some of those product providers are going to be more trustworthy than others. This is certainly true of binary options. It is, after all, an accessible and popular method for individuals to trade the markets. What’s more, at least in their early days, binary options trading platforms tended to operate under the radar of the regulators and from any country over the internet – so it’s hardly surprising that unscrupulous operators seek to take advantage. Thanks to better regulation, a strong online trader community and honest reviews, it’s now a lot easier to tell a scam from a legitimate broker. But as with any international online marketplace, there are still some shady outfits who will leave you with less than you bargained for. So what are red flags to look out for? Here are the points to consider as you go about choosing your binary broker.
MyChargeBack.com are a company who specialise in helping binary fraud victims recover their money. They liaise with bank or credit card firms in order to get charge backs made to reclaim deposits. They will tell you if you have a valid claim via a free consultation.
Are Binary Options A Scam?
The term “scam” covers a wide range of behaviour, from providing misleading information to lure you in, through to vanishing account balances – and even dishonest trading advice. Likewise, a particular broker might not be technically fraudulent in its behaviour; it’s just that the service available on the platform (such as highly unreliable uptime or failure to reimburse funds in a timely manner) means that this is a broker that really ought to be avoided.
In all of these cases, the problem isn’t with binary options as a concept, it’s with the broker.
So it’s a matter of doing your homework before you commit to any particular platform. User reviews can be helpful (if they are genuine), but always treat such reviews with scepticism – and never make a decision on the basis of testimonials published on the broker’s website. Even trader forums can be problematic – look closely and you’ll often find that the forum is an offshoot of a particular broker’s website. Independent, thorough and comparative reviews are the safest way to ‘scam-check’ a broker. Ideally, focus on review sites that allow and encourage real-life users to get in contact and report and problems with particular brokers, so you can be sure that what you are reading is up to date.
Below is an always up-to-date list of our top 3 trusted brokers. You can find a list of all the brokers we recommend here.
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The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does now regulate binary options. They have already created a list of unauthorised firms. While they are not calling them scams, they are making it clear that these firms are breaking the law by trading with UK visitors – so they are best avoided. The full list can be found here: FCA Unauthorised List
By contrast, the USA along with most other EU countries do regard binary options as financial products. Depending on where they are based, many platforms will, therefore, be subject to oversight from a regulatory body. Examples include the CFTC in the US and CySec in Cyprus. A platform’s regulatory status can be a highly valuable trust-indicator for traders seeking to avoid scams. It shows that the broker has to abide by certain minimum standards when it comes to service and transparency.
Marketing “Too Good To Be True”
Taken in isolation, the act of placing a trade should be a straightforward one; and indeed, the usability of a platform tends to be a big selling point for brokers. Although this aspect of binary options is “easy”, it’s something quite different to claim that profits are guaranteed. Realising a profit through regular trading requires knowledge of how markets behave, the ability to read market conditions and an understanding of strategy. If the risks are downplayed – or outright false assertions are made (along the lines of “95% trades are successful”), these are false assurances. It’s a sign that the broker may be less than scrupulous in other important areas and that the platform ought to be given a wide berth.
Terms and conditions
Transparency is essential. Read the smallprint, and be especially wary of needlessly convoluted procedures for withdrawal of funds. Terms regarding your initial deposit can be another source of contention; for instance, if you are denied access to the deposit until a certain number of trades are made – so your money is tied to the platform from the moment it is handed over. This deposit retention is often part of wider terms associated with a ‘bonus’. CySec have sought to ban these sorts of terms by stopping the use of ‘deposit match’ bonuses. Non-CySec brands are still free to use them however, so T&C’s must always checked.
These tend to fall into two categories. The first is where you are called out of the blue and invited to sign up to a particular platform. The second occurs where you are already tied to the platform and you receive a call (or email) from a “senior broker” pointing you in the direction of particular trades. Reputable brokers do not need to make cold calls. Bear in mind “cold calls” might include emails too – any form of unsolicited approach should be considered a “cold” contact and be treated with extreme suspicion.
You should always be clear about who you are dealing with. In some situations, you might visit what appears to be an actual broker’s site, click the link to sign up only to be redirected to another broker. Alternatively a trading “service” may dictate that you use only their recommended broker. These “funnel” sites are sometimes used as a front by brokers with a poor reputation, or are working alongside them to dupe visitors (often using the misleading marketing mentioned above). A good broker will be upfront about its identity from the outset.
It’s one thing for a broker to give you access to the data and analysis tools to work out your own strategies (in fact, this is one of the signs of a great platform). It’s quite another for that broker to also offer trading advice. After all, with ‘over the counter’ binary options brokers, you are betting against the house; if the ‘house’ is making the trading decisions for you, it’s hardly likely that those decisions will be in your best interests. This form of “upselling” is often the most lucrative for the broker, and is usually the where traders lose the most. Encouraged by an “account manager”, traders are advised to deposit beyond their means and to over trade. On occasion large accounts will be wiped out in hours. The “advice” goes against any sound money management, and increases risk hugely. Always take responsibility for your own trades. Never allow a broker to make trading decisions for you.
There has to be a fair and transparent benchmark against which the broker sets its prices. This benchmark should be what’s happening in the real world; i.e. real-time market prices. If the broker reserves the right to set its own prices, you can assume that those figures will be skewed against you; in other words, a loaded deck.
Scam Brokers and Not Recommended Operators
The brokers listed below have generated a lot of complaints both directly and on the forum. The disputes vary from upselling and encouraging traders to over trade, to non-payment of withdrawals and price manipulation. There is little recourse for traders to raise a dispute with unregulated brokers, so it is generally advised that you look for trusted binary options brokers – preferably regulated in your own country where possible. “Scam” has become widely used as a term to refer to any form of poor service, but it should be noted that many of these brokers may have done nothing dishonest or illegal, but have attracted higher than normal levels of complaints. If in doubt, trade elsewhere. There are plenty of honest brokers out there.
Robot And Signal Scams
These signal providers, or robot services, are either scams or not recommended for other important reasons.
Instagram And Facebook
Beware of scams operating on social media. Again, binaries are not a get rich quick scheme. There are a huge number of accounts promising to trade on your behalf and turn $2k into $8k in a week. If these claims were true, the people behind them would not need to be running ads or signing people up – they would simply trade themselves.
Screenshots of successful trades are exceptionally easy to get – even genuinely. But these operators are unlikely to even bother trading – once you send them money, it is gone and you will not hear from them again (unless they think they can get you to deposit more). Always select your own broker, and always take responsibility for your own trades – dont let someone else trade on your behalf. If you do not understand binary options, or do not have time to trade – then do not trade at all. These scams often prey on people who lack experience.
What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed
Do you think you’ve fallen prey to a binary options scam? Read on to find out what you can do if you’ve been scammed. There are many ways to help ensure that you don’t fall prey to a scam but the reality is that even if you follow all those tips there is still a possibility you will be scammed. If that happens, what do you do? Do you sit back and take it? Do you give up on trading? No, you need to stand tall and look out for yourself. Trading is good, it is rewarding and can lead to a life in which you don’t have to go to a job and punch a clock. You can’t let the actions of one broker, signal service, robot or guru dissuade you from that path. This article is a look at what you can do if you think you’ve been scammed. It’s likely that once an issue arises you won’t be able to get your profits, it is possible to get back your initial deposit but it might take some work.
MyChargeBack.com are a firm specialising in helping victims of binary options fraud. They help claimants to explain the incident to the bank or credit card company, so that they fully understand what has happened. Some banks are unaware of binary trading and are unwilling to listen to claims. MyChargeBack help in this situation. They have a solid record of recovery from genuine claims.
If you are not yet looking for third party help, here are some steps you can take yourself:
- Document everything. The very first thing to do is to make records of everything you can. This includes the brokers, or SSP’s, terms&conditions, copies of any emails/Skype/live-chat you have had with them, confirmation of your deposit, turnover requirements for bonuses and your trading history. No matter what you do next, this information will be required in order to get satisfaction. What you do next will depend on the type of scam you have fallen prey to.
- Try to withdraw. Broker won’t let me withdraw. Contact the broker and try to find out why they won’t let you withdraw. The most usual reason is that you’ve not sent in the right ID documentation, something required by international law, and is an issue easy to fix. The next most pressing reason why withdrawals are not allowed is due to bonus terms and turnover requirements. If you haven’t met conditions you will not be allowed to make any form of withdrawal which is why you want to keep track of all your trading volume and turnover. If you didn’t accept a bonus in the first place your documentation will help you prove it. A good broker will try to solve your issues, a shady one will give you the run-around.
- Make your voice heard. Broker keeps giving me the run-around. If your broker is giving you the run-around and won’t address your issues the next best avenue for satisfaction is to let the community know what is going on. After all, it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. You can do this by posting complaints, with details, in forums like the one here at Binaryoptions.net. When you do this be sure to let the broker know and send them a link. They may not care, a sign of a shady broker, but when it comes to reliable brokers they will want to address your problems to avoid poor publicity. When posting complaints give as much detail as possible, just saying that a broker scammed you is not enough, proofs of fraud are what get results.
- Contact their payments provider. The broker won’t help, now what? At this point the chances that you have been scammed, and not just suffering from miscommunication, are quite high. If you can’t get satisfaction from the broker you will have to take more drastic measures. If you deposited by credit card this may mean calling the card company and requesting a charge-back. Let them know the initial charge was fraudulent and that the company in question is not returning your contact requests for best results. The Times Of Israel reported that a victim of fraud was able to get a full refund of his deposit after contacting the financial institution that processed the brokers payments. They withheld payments until the broker satisfied the claims.
- Contact the regulator. Time to call out the big guns. The great thing about expanding binary options regulation is that there is an alternative for many traders who think they’ve been scammed, you can contact the regulator. In some cases this can be a challenge as many brokers are located off-shore and hidden behind holding companies and virtual offices so be sure to do your homework. If the broker is regulated contact the agency overseeing them, if they are not regulated contact the agency which oversees financial regulation in your country. If the broker is regulated they will have to address your issue, to the satisfaction of all parties, in order to remain compliant. If they are not regulated at least you can be assured at least they will have a harder time scamming any more people from your country. At best cooperation between regulators could result in the broker being shut down for fraud.
- Be persistent. Shady brokers like to hire people who are good at deflecting questions and complaints, don’t accept what they are telling you. It may take time but eventually you will talk to the right person, or persons, and your case will be addressed. What is most likely to happen is that the combination of your contact requests, forum complaints and charges with regulators will add up to one thing, the broker giving you your money back to avoid a much bigger hassle.
How to Spot a Trading Strategy Scam
The internet is loaded with ads, articles, companies and individuals trying to provide you with the next big trading strategy that will make you rich overnight. Take pause my friend, here are tips to help you spot the scam.
A System or Only a Strategy?
First and foremost, trading strategies aren’t really going to help you become a good trader. What you actually need is an entire system. When you make a trading plan it needs to cover how you will enter markets, exit markets and how you will manage your money. It also needs to tell you under what market conditions you do all these things. That is a system, it tells you everything you need to know about how you will trade. A strategy on the other hand only tells you when to enter and exit, and may not tell you under what conditions it works best or poorly. It also may not provide guidance on position size or whether you can trade multiple assets at the same time – issues which are very important to address. In other words, a strategy may have missing pieces of information you need to be successful. We need a complete trading system…but marketers are smart, so they can easily just call the product they are selling a “system” to make it sound more complete. But is it? Here are several things to watch for which could tip you off the product is probably a waste of money:
A boxed system is one where you don’t get to know how the strategy works – it’s an opaque “black box”. For example, the product may just be a series of indicators or a service that tells you when to trade, but not why. This isn’t going to make you a better trader, because you don’t know what is happening behind the scenes. If a product or signal service stops operating you are left with nothing. Even if you made money with the product/service you have to start from scratch all over again. Make sure if you buy something it explains how it works, so that eventually you don’t have to rely on the product/service.
Extremely High Win Rates
Is it possible to have a 90% win rate? Absolutely, yet it is also possible to lose money with a 90% win rate. Stats are easily manipulated to tell partial truths or fabricate lies. Other popular tactics are saying things like “Made $500 in one day!” So what? That doesn’t actually tell you anything. If that was on a $1,000,000 account then making $500 isn’t so grand. And if they lost $3000 they day before, then making only $500 today and bragging about it is rather paltry. Read between the lines. What isn’t being said? To understand performance you need several bits of information: Account size (capital), percentage return, amount at risk on each trade, amount of profit per trade, win/loss ratio, biggest winner, biggest loser, average winner, average loser, number of trades and period over which the strategy was tested/profitable.
There are also some other metrics that could help you out, but if you ask the company for these bits of information, and they can’t or won’t give them to you, be suspicious. You can usually get a sense of what vulnerabilities and tendencies a system has by looking at the above stats. One of the main things is that the strategy should be tested over a long period of time, and in all market conditions–up trends, down trends, ranges, volatile and sedate conditions. It doesn’t necessarily have to profitable in each of these environments, but it should have at least been traded through them all so you know that the system is profitable overall. Often marketers will only publish results for a period where strategy did very well. But this doesn’t give you a real idea of how the strategy or system works over the long-term.
- Related to stats there is something else you need to consider. If a system is profitable, that result is based on all the trades. If you buy the product or the service, are you going to trade them all? On issue many traders face when subscribing to a signal service is that they don’t trade all the signals. If you don’t trade all the signals then your personal results could be dramatically different than the typical results of the service.
Only One Direction
Avoid a system that only trades in one direction, for example only buys assets but won’t short sell them. Markets rise and fall, you want to participate in both trends.
No Trial Period
You should be able to test a product and be able to cancel without a fuss if the service isn’t for you. Usually a quick trading forum search on Google will reveal what others have shares about a product or service. No trial, no deal. Don’t trust anyone, test things out for yourself. If they won’t let you, then be wary.
Final Words on Identifying Scams
A product or service shouldn’t make you reliant on it. It should show you behind the scenes so that eventually you can trade on your own. Good products will always have customers since there are people who don’t want to do the work themselves, and there are always new traders. There is no reason to make every customer totally dependent. Be wary of stats that are thrown out. Ask yourself what the stats aren’t telling you. Also, if the stats they provide are legitimate, then you’ll need to trade all the signals to take advantage and get results typical of the service. Of course remember though, past performance is not indicative of futures results. That is way it pays to do some homework, and make sure the strategy/system/service/product is based on a long history, and has proven itself profitable over all types of market conditions. Test out a product/system/service before buying it. If they won’t let you try, be suspicious.
Case Study – JV Affiliate Marketers
In this section we will look at how you can avoid being scammed by Binary Options JV Affiliate Marketers. Its not so hard, but requires you to let go of your emotions and examine things in a logical manner, as many of the scammers use emotional greed/fear tactics to get your money. Once you understand this you can quickly and simply save your time and money with these unscrupulous dolts. Some scams are simply comical in how stupid they are, while others can be very well done con jobs that lure you in with seemingly genuine people/systems/reviews which later you find are the exact opposite, as you look at your $0 balance wondering “Where did my money go!?”.
As you will see in the numerous scam videos, all you have to do is “NOT DEPOSIT” then these scams no longer work. So next time you see videos that are of a similar nature, just know they are supporting scam systems/marketers. Understand if they require a deposit they are fly by night and even if they were not they are supporting the scammers by the nature of requiring you to deposit with a new broker. So just refuse to deposit and they go away. Not the same stories kind of stories and promises over and over all to get you to sign-up to their “free” system/bots… They are not free you have to deposit and they get paid on those deposits… So remember limited time/fast money/can’t lose!/just fund your account = don’t do it!
In this image above you can see many of the scam systems are connected to each other on the same servers most often. These JV marketers have tons of these turnkey scams as they are very low maintenance. The reason you see so many of them is after a few weeks of the new story line wares off and becomes boring they will start production on another one and keep it all fresh and new thus avoiding the wrath of their old scams being complained about and those complaints shared with others. If they keep it new they avoid this along with the fact most newbies jump from one scam to another hoping one of these will work, which none of them do because trading is a learned skill/job… So again, understand their stories and how they work, and don’t deposit .
Case Study – Scams on Social Media
Social media is a “perfect” platform for scammers and can be even more insidious and convincing, and unlike the JV marketers these people will talk to you directly, but only to a point. Once they figure they can’t get any more from you or you no longer have value to them, they will un-friend you in a heart beat. The one thing they are all after is your money, so be on the look out for them asking for deposits or sign-ups telling you about amazing profits and opportunities, which will have you end up with empty pockets. Videos such as those used with both “The Green Room” and “FB Wealth Group” will pretend to be traders/friends, while they are really just out to get your money through either signups or even trying to have you pay them directly.
Also – if you see them mention anything MLM (Multi Level Marketing) related, they are trained to lure you in, so run the other way. These people don’t play around and will say whatever is needed to get you to sign-up and invest. There is a 45 minute long interview of a person that was scammed by both “The Green Room” and “FB Wealth Group”. We named it Binary Options Horror Story because that is exactly what it is in all its gory details. If you are new to binary options read, and absorb the above warning signs fully to see how they scammed people out of their money so it does not happen to you. Notice also how the worked with the brokers directly, which implies that they can be directly involved as well.
Scammers will repeat the common element of wanting you to deposit or even asking for money directly and from there you can tell them “no thanks” and make sure to unfriend them.
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