It seems like everyone I know, even if they have little or no contact with the world of online investing, is deeply suspicious and skeptical of the whole thing.
Online investment scams exploded in the mid-2010s with binary options, and in the last few years have migrated to forex fraud, CFD scams, and others.
These days it seems like everyone thinks the whole thing is just one big scam. Is there something to this idea? Is there smoke without fire?
How did such powerful cynicism gain such a wide following?
has been dealing with the reality of scam brokers and their victims for years. We have seen first-hand the financial and emotional devastation that innocent people face, even as we have succeeded in recovering over $11 million for our clients on six continents.
There’s no question that there are a lot of honest decent people working for online brokerages that are legal, legitimate, and compliant.
If that describes you, then you are probably more frustrated and incensed than anyone when you see thieves appropriating your respectable business model for their own nefarious purposes.
It only takes a few rotten apples to give everyone a bad name.
How did it come to this?
Part of the problem is baked into the business. Retail investors are notoriously optimistic, and many of them may lack a clear understanding of the risks involved in trading, and are not always sufficiently educated in proper investment strategies.
So, when things go sour, there may be a natural, if misplaced, tendency to look for someone to blame. And that someone may even be a legitimate broker.
You might say that 80% of online brokers lose the goodwill of their customers.
And then there are the scammers. They’re almost always unregulated, so they’re not constrained by normal rules like keeping their customer’s money in segregated accounts or making unrealistic promises of profitable trades.
Among the most popular tactics is to get the investor trapped in the “bonus web”. Bonuses are given out willy-nilly, and the naive investors are only too happy to accept them.
If they would read the fine print (and decipher its byzantine and purposefully confusing jargon), they’d understand that by accepting the money, they are in effect encumbering their accounts until a totally unrealistic volume of trading has been reached, a volume that statistically all but guarantees that their money will evaporate.
If the broker is even more ruthless, the bonuses will not even matter. He’s stealing the deposits as soon as they’re made.
In many cases, their online trading platforms are little more than video games; the asset values can be manipulated to make (imaginary) money for the investors to get them excited.
When the “broker” judges he’s gotten all the deposits he can out of the investor, the platform can be manipulated again to tank the account.
The point is for the fraudster to walk away with the investor’s deposits (that was the goal all along), but to do it in such a way as to make their victim believe they were just unlucky.
That helps reduce the chances of having to fight a fund recovery effort, much less legal sanctions. Not that law enforcement is much of a worry for the latest generation of online investment scammers.
They’ve learned (the hard way) to keep clear of countries that have rigorous and consistent legal and regulatory frameworks. Plus, they generally keep their real physical locations well hidden, just in case.
The fact is, it’s a mess. Until it gets cleaned up, the innocent will continue to suffer, and the whole industry will remain under suspicion.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is sponsored and does not represent the opinions of Finance Magnates.