In forex trading, scamming practices are often carried by the brokers. That is why as a trader, you must know which broker that must be avoided to minimize the risk of being scammed.
Forex trading can be very tempting to try, given the flexible nature of the currency market and the wide choice of trading instruments to explore. With the various options to choose from, each trader can determine their own trading style and strategy to achieve their goals.
However, forex trading is a risky business. With more than $6.6 trillion a day traded over the market, forex industry is prone to frauds and scams. The sad reality of it that people are out to make fraudulent money from innocent traders through many actions. If you look up forex scams on the internet, the results might be shocking. Although the market is starting to get more regulated each day and many old scams have already been exposed, the market is still not completely safe as new scams keep showing up; some of them even use brand new methods to deceive traders.
Usually, the victims are beginners who are not fully prepared and can't identify the right broker to choose from. Of course, scam acts are not limited to beginners because even a professional trader can get caught in similar cases if they're not careful. That is why, it is wise to keep yourself fully informed about the broker you choose and avoid the ones that don't meet the safety requirements.
There are at least three skills that you need to have to avoid scams.
- First, you must be able to identify a regulated broker authorized by a trusted regulator. It is essential to check this aspect at the start because if the broker's not regulated to begin with, then there is a higher chance of low-quality services that lead to financial loss.
- Second, you should be realistic while scanning through any broker's promotions and bonuses. Scammers tend to over-promising by offering unrealistic deals to get more clients.
- Lastly, you need to understand how forex broker scams usually cheat on their clients. You will get to know their characteristics and, therefore, avoid them as best as you can.
If you want an easier way to spot a scam, you can check some examples from the list below:
1. 4XP Broker or Forex Place
4XP has been aggressively promoting its services and pushing on vigorous marketing strategies to gain more clients from the start. The broker claimed that they were regulated in the British Virgin Island in 2009 and were a part of the Russian independent regulatory agency, Financial Market Relations Regulation Center (FMRRC). Not only that, 4XP mentioned that they were processing their applications for licenses from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
4XP offered desirable trading conditions such as zero commission, tight spreads, and real-time market prices. They claimed that they had developed robust connections with various inter banks and, therefore, could provide the best competitive rates for their clients. The website was regularly updated with unique, daily, and weekly market commentaries and up-to-date economic calendar releases.
However, on December 11, 2013, 4XP was included in a warning against a few unauthorized entities issued by the French AMF. Not only that, FMRRC also declared that they have revoked the license for 4XP and stated that 4XP was never regulated there. And then, in the following year, there were 7 Guilty Verdicts against 4XP in the Forex Peace Army (FPA) Trader's Court. Many traders were complaining about not being able to withdraw their funds and some other financial issues. As a result, the FPA declared 4XP as a scam and blacklisted it. 4XP eventually deactivated its website in 2014 and has stopped operations ever since.
SkyFX was first established in 2011 and has gained quite a handful of worldwide traders since then. The parent company, Trademarket Ltd, has obtained authorization from Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC). At a glance, the broker seems safe and well-regulated. However, it was later found out that the broker got into trouble with IBs and their affiliates because of multiple changes in URL and affiliation code that happened without any logical reason. As a result, many IBs and affiliates decided to stop partnering with SkyFX.
The issue didn't stop there. In April 2016, the CySEC fined Trademarket Ltd a fine of €20,000 for violations of the Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Law of 2007. Not only that, many articles from the Israeli press wrote that the owner of the company, Aviv Talmor, was involved in illegal actions and was under investigation for operating a Ponzi scheme. CySEC then announced that they would be no longer regulating SkyFX. Shortly after, the broker ceased their operations completely and took down their website.
Forex-Metal is a Bulgarian-based broker founded in 2007. Initially, Forex-Metal seemed like a fine choice for traders because it offered some benefits and favorable trading conditions. However, in 2014, traders began to experience withdrawal failures. As you may already know, withdrawal failure is one of the earliest signs of scams, in which some of them end up taking their clients' funds and disappear into thin air. Not only withdrawal failures, Forex-Metal's clients also experienced downturns in the trading platforms and website.
Since the beginning, Forex-Metal had tried to gain trust from their clients by claiming that they were licensed by the International Financial Services Commission (IFSC), a regulatory agency from Belize. Yet, the license couldn't be proven anywhere. In 2016, the FPA finally stated that Forex-Metal is a confirmed scam broker and must be avoided. Not long after, the website forex-metal.com had gone offline. Although the broker officially stopped their operations, there are a few suspicious websites still operating under the Forex-Metal label and have the same address in Malta.
4. Masterforex (MFX Broker)
MFX Broker was founded in 2006 under the name Masterforex and licensed by the IFSC Belize, but later rebranded as MFX Broker without renewing its license. In the following years after the launch, MFX had gained popularity among traders from across the world. However, since they rebranded, the company started to look suspicious. Starting from the status of their license that remained "on process" to their unrealistic investment program in 2015 that promised a fixed return ranging from 3% per month and up to 100% per year.
A year later, this broker's issues grew bigger with traders and IBs left unpaid, and IFSC Belize announced that they had revoked MFX's license. Not only that, some traders also experienced withdrawal failures, and many finally accused MFX of scam practices. The FPA strongly suggests not to trade with MFX broker as it is already proven to be a scam and problematic. Currently, the broker's official website has been taken down and the company has stopped its business.
See Also: The Unresolved Case of MFX Broker Scam
5. A Special Story from a Surviving Suspect
Many traders from around 2013-2014 might have heard the name IronFX thanks to its bombastic and unmitigated promotional activities, including offering a trip to outer space and a luxurious holiday in Dubai. Many traders were interested in this offer, especially with the broker's credibility that was supported by licenses from CySEC (Cyprus), FCA (UK), and ASIC (Australia). But in early 2015, many complaints emerged from traders across various countries regarding the difficulty in fund withdrawals.
The fact that several top-tier agencies regulate IronFX confused most traders.
Responding to the complaints, in August 2015, IronFX stated that they indeed intentionally held the withdrawal process of their clients because they were performing an investigation for the misuse of promotion bonuses. In fact, many clients that experienced withdrawal failures were not even involved in any promotional activities. Regarding the issue, CySEC decided to investigate and end up charging the broker for being proven guilty. Still, IronFX's license was not revoked. At the same time, rumors circulated that the fine only functioned as a settlement to keep CySEC from canceling its license.
IronFX tried to gain its reputation back, especially in the UK and Australia, by changing the name of their subsidiary as FXGiants. It appears that a few years later, as written in the Financemagnates news on August 6, 2018, CySEC stated that the allegations aimed at IronFX did not have strong evidence and IronFX has the right to withhold traders' funds if there's an indication of fraud and abuse in the bonus system.
In addition, traders who claim to have suffered losses have also retracted their lawsuit against the broker simultaneously. Although it is still unclear if the broker's a real scam or just the victim of witch-hunting, it is important to note that even now, many traders still complain about withdrawal issues, and the broker still struggles to recover from its scandals and have not managed to return to its previous glory.
Fixed and Variable
Trading by telephone
Islamic accounts available
IronFX is part of the International Financial Services Group, which began to exist since 2010. Operating under Notesco Financial Services Limited, this broker is always trying to expand its market to reach as many clients as possible. Since 2012, IronFX has expanded its market to more than 20 countries.
IronFX has a strong legality guarantee because it has a license from FCA, ASIC, and CySEC. Regulation becomes one of the important factors by traders when choosing brokers. Because it already has elite class regulations, it's no wonder that the company has won the trust of clients from all over the world. At present, there are around 1.2 million clients registered in IronFX.
There are around 200 instruments that can be traded in IronFX. Not only currency pairs, opening an account in IronFX also allows CFD trading on stocks, commodities, and metals.
There are two types of accounts provided by IronFX. Traders can choose between Live and STP/ECN trading accounts. Live Floating/Live Fixed is divided into 4 accounts, including Micro, Premium, VIP, and Zero Fixed. Meanwhile, STP/ECN is divided into 3 accounts, including STP/ECN No Commission, STP/ECN Zero Spread, and STP/ECN Absolute Zero.
Despite having many types of accounts, the cost of trading in IronFX is quite high. This broker does offer a zero fixed spread option, but there is still a fairly large commission expense each Lot when trading with this broker. Traders must pay a maximum commission of USD43 each standard lot.
IronFX is a broker with advanced technology. Traders have the opportunity to trade on 15 platforms at once with only one account. They can enjoy the benefits of forex trading through the industry-leading MT4 online trading platform. MetaTrader 4 is supported in Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iPhone/iPad, Android, and any internet browsers.
Traders are also presented with the most flexible and advanced platforms, PMAM. It's recommended for both professional traders and money managers. With PMAM, clients will get some benefits and trading features, such as managing orders and positions, one-click order entry, unlimited account manager, and monitoring of financial instruments' prices and forex rates.
Traders can open positions with a minimum order of 0.01 lots, deposit starts from USD500, and flexible leverage up to 1: 1,000. IronFX is one of the most market-responsive brokers because it is willing to accept deposits in 10 currencies which include AUD, USD, EUR, PLN, GBP, CHF, JPY, RUB, CZK, and HUF. The language used on their website also varies. Not only English, but there are also Arabic, Czech, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and many more.
For deposit and withdrawal, IronFX has developed what is known as a bespoke interface, which means that the interface is adjusted to each client's particular needs. IronFX does not accept cash for deposits. However, for other types of deposits, the Client Portal is completely automatic and allows clients to make both deposits and withdrawals in one simple interface. The deposit and withdrawal methods range from Bank Wire, credit/debit card, to FasaPay, Neteller, and Skrill.
Clients have the opportunity to gain more earnings from IronFX by joining partnership programs like Introducing Brokers (IB), Affiliates, and White Labels. This broker also offers a notable bonus package, with incentives that currently includes a 100% sharing bonus if traders can deposit USD10,000, and a 20% bonus if traders can deposit up to USD2,000. Terms and conditions do apply and none of this bonus cash can be taken out of traders' accounts.
For beginner traders, IronFX provides a wide variety of forex educational materials, such as videos, webinars, and seminars. Another important IronFX offering is its new social trading facility. Furthermore, the company's customer support is designed to offer the highest level of service through email, live chat, and phone support in more than 30 languages.
Overall, IronFX considers itself to be the leading online broker and seems to be recovering well from past regulatory issues. It supports optimized trading in MetaTrader 4 and offers its clients an easy way to make deposits and withdrawals through its proprietary Client Portal.
Choosing a forex broker is never an easy task for traders. Having to trade with a problematic broker can affect a trader's performance and add unnecessary anxieties. The sad truth is that despite the many attempts to get rid of them, scam practices are still standing in the forex industry.
However, keep in mind that not all brokers are bad. There are plenty of other trustworthy brokers that put a high priority on the traders' interests. As long as the broker is well-regulated and transparent to its clients, then you're good to go. Also, try to avoid brokers that have a bad reputation and bad track records. Lessons from the five stories above could give you a clear insight into how forex scams usually unfold. If you are already trapped in a suspicious broker, experience some serious withdrawal failures or other problematic issues, you should learn on How to Recover from Forex Broker Scams.