How to Identify Forex Scams
Reading time: 8 minutes
Forex scams will be around for as long as the Forex market exists. As schemes are evolving, scammers are always somewhere nearby, trying to extort your money away. But could there be a solution to this problem?
Investment scams take many different forms. Some of the scams are even named after their creators - such as the Ponzi scheme, which comes from infamous scammer Charles Ponzi. Forex scammers tend to target beginners or uneducated traders. The best way to combat this, and avoid getting scammed is by getting a good Forex trading education, so you are aware of everything before you enter the markets.
Once you master the markets, you are no longer an easy target. Forex scams often use phrases like "a too-good-to-be-true investment opportunity" as a way of convincing you to part ways with your money. When you lack trading experience, swindlers will try to exploit your optimism and fears. Here's where Forex scammers step in and make you exciting offers.
Spotting a Forex Scammer
The most important giveaway of a Forex scammer is the guarantee of unusually large profits with little or no financial risk. First of all: there's no such thing as a 100% guarantee. If there was, there's no way traders would share it with other market players. Some of these offers may sound very attractive, especially to trading beginners. But as the saying goes, the only free cheese is in the mouse trap. The bottom line is this: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Here a few simple rules to follow in order to avoid scammers:
- Remain safe and don't run after empty promises
- Be especially wary of software that claims to have found a 'secret formula'
- Do not install any programs until you are certain they won't damage your computer
Another giveaway is that scammers never register with any regulatory authority. Remember - true brokers always provide proof of their legitimacy. If you suspect that a Forex agency is lying about their regulation, you can contact a regulatory authority who may be able to provide a list of regulated companies, and a list of cases opened against regulated companies. This will help you understand which Forex brokers to avoid.
Educate Yourself and Avoid the Risks
As Forex trading carries exceptionally high risk, losses are inevitable. Retail speculators are almost always trading undercapitalised, and are subject to the problem of gambling addiction and improper use of leverage. Any speculator who trades without skill is essentially playing against the market as a whole, which has nearly infinite capital, and they will almost certainly go bankrupt as a result. In all fairness, a large number of the reports of money being stolen by brokers is a result of weak trading, and not scam brokers.
If unskilled traders spent time developing a proper trading methodology they would become better traders much quicker, and would likely avoid Forex scammers altogether, as they would suitably informed about the potential risks and what to avoid. Most retail traders should be able to use almost any trading platform with any broker, and see very little difference in their results – it's that simple. Once you accept your losses, trade with a trading system, and master your market, it will be much harder for you to fall for a scam.
The Signs of Trading Scams
Trading Systems and Education Without Any Proof
There are a lot of scammers selling trading systems and education. When you ask them to provide any proof of their trading history, they evade the answer. There are also many traders who would offer their systems without a trading room or any services. These types of scammers are sometimes referred to as "snake oil merchants". "Snake oil" is the term traders use for false traders and trading systems that have no valid proof of their trading history.
Email Spam Asking for Personal Info
Scammers may also ask you for personal information, such as:
- Your full name
- Your phone number
- Your home address
Don't give away your personal details to someone you don't fully trust. Be suspicious of brokers who don't provide you with a written risk disclosure statement. Even if they do, read the statements thoroughly, because the devil is in the details. Remember, data may become currency soon.
Never work with someone who refuses to provide you with their background information. Be it a broker, a trader, an educator, or a money manager. Always do a quick check online to see if the person or company is legit.
Real Scams Exposed
According to New York Magazine, a kid from Queens, New York City in the USA made tens of millions of dollars by trading stocks on his lunch breaks at Stuyvesant High School. What happened in reality is that it turned out he never made any money, and all his profits were made in a paper trading account.
How to Avoid Forex Scams
The best way to avoid investment scams is to take your time. Don't rush your decisions - and make sure to assess all the pros and cons first. Finding a reliable Forex broker is not an easy task, but you'll benefit in the long run from investing your time. The first step you should take when you come across a Forex broker or agency is to google their business name. Look for customer reviews on reputable websites. If there are none or they are sound fake, you should stay away from that service provider. Additionally, you can browse through scam reviews and see if a Forex broker is as reliable as claimed. Also, make sure to find out if there are any outstanding legal actions against the broker.
For example, you can:
- Visit Forex forums and see whether there are any complaints about fund withdrawals, and if so:
- Contact the user who posted the complaint and ask for more details.
Perhaps the user was mistaken or confused, but it never hurts to ask. A proper background check will also minimise your risks.
Keep Away From Opportunities That Seem Too Good to Be True
Easy money? No way! Don't believe anyone who tells you it's easy to make money with something like ''20% gain per month''. It's pure nonsense, because Forex & CFD trading requires a lot of screening time, education, patience, and quick wits to become profitable. There is no easy money achieved here. If you dedicate your time and learn how to trade properly, you might achieve a great source of income.
Further Steps You Can Take To Protect Yourself
Make sure to compare the regulations of the regulatory authority with the terms on the broker's website to find inconsistencies and anomalies in their terms. If you don't trust your own judgement, or you simply don't have time, ask the advice of a licensed financial advisor. Additionally, you can ask for business registration proof before registering with a broker. Make sure to read through all the fine print when opening an account. Sometimes scammers use account incentives against the trader, when it comes to withdrawing funds.
- If you receive bonus funds and wish to withdraw them, a Forex scammer may deny you that right due its terms and conditions.
Don't forget that when you start live trading - always trade a small volume for a short period initially, and then attempt a withdrawal. If everything goes smoothly, it's safe to deposit more funds. The availability of a Demo account is another indicator of a good or bad broker. If you don't get offered this option, or are discouraged from demo trading, this is a strong indication of a Forex scammer.
Questions You Need to Ask
Remember that you have every right to ask questions. A few proper questions, can determine whether you are dealing with a trustworthy broker or a Forex scam artist. Make sure know your rights, research the contacts, and check the company's registration and business background. Keep in mind that all the information you receive from a potential new broker must be in written form. Never rely on phone conversations or oral statements.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What can you do when you realise a broker's offer is not for you?
- How binding is the contract?
- How easy is it to reach customer service?
- Can you contact the broker by phone, Skype or email?
- Do they list a physical address?
- Do they use actual names?
- Are they a registered company?
- Can they provide performance history?
To ensure you're not a victim of a scam, always use a regulated broker that is well established, has favourable online reviews, and is 100% transparent in their fees and compliance policies. The allure of quick money and easy cash will always be omnipresent, which is why you should make sure that you fully understand what it truly takes to become successful at currency trading, without using quick-fix schemes that put you at risk.
This material does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice, investment recommendations, an offer of or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments. Please note that such trading analysis is not a reliable indicator for any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decisions, you should seek advice from independent financial advisors to ensure you understand the risks.