Beware! ProfitsTrade is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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ProfitsTrade is an offshore broker that offers trading in Forex, Stocks, Commodities, Indices and Cryptocurrencies. They have five account types to choose from starting from a minimum deposit of $250 to $10,000, and 20% to 50% bonus. They also advertise an Islamic, or swap-free, account.
We signed up for the Bronze account by providing First and Last Name, Email address and Phone number. Although there was a “Success” message displayed on the website, we did not receive a confirmation email, which is something that every registration service that requires your email does. Only a few minutes later, however, one of their agents started calling on the phone and sent an “URGENT” email saying she is the Account Manager and needs to discuss few details.
This is what these con-artists usually do – as soon as you provide your personal details they start calling to convince you to deposit with them.
ProfitsTrade regulation & safety of funds
The broker claims to be registered in the Caribbean island of Dominica. As much as this may be true, we must note that Dominica is an offshore jurisdiction that does not regulate forex trading or any financial investment services for that matter.
After a quick search on the internet we discovered that on July 31, 2020 the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning against ProfitsTrade and has included it in their Financial Services Register as an Unauthorised firm.
The Terms and Conditions do not say anything about forex licensing or regulations. There is a webpage dedicated to Security in which we find statements about “Minimum Capital Reserve”, “Credible Liquidity Provider” and “Enhanced Risk Controls”. These are nothing but empty claims, though – there is nothing concrete concerning how big this minimum capital is, who the liquidity provider is or what the risk controls are.
To gain investors’ trust regulated brokers would provide proof of their licensing by a respected watchdog organization, such as the FCA or the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), and would cite some of the policies these agencies have regarding forex brokers. Among these are Minimum Capital Requirements of €730 000 to guarantee good financial standing, Client Account Segregation to ensure that clients’ funds are kept separate from the broker’s operating funds and the latter does not have access to them and Negative Balance Protection, which stipulates that traders may not lose more than the funds they initially invested. The brokerages also have to be part of Compensation Schemes providing additional guarantee to clients’ funds up to a certain amount (85,000 GBP in the UK and 20,000 EUR in the EU).
ProfitsTrade, however, is not licensed by any respected regulatory organization, so we warn our readers that investing money with this broker is not safe!
ProfitsTrade Trading Software
There is a brief mention of “MT4/MT5 online trading platforms” in the Terms and Conditions, but we do not find any download links for these or any other established trading platform, neither on the website nor in the client area. The latter looks very basic in terms of design and features – there is an interface for financial operations, which we will explore later and a Trade button that opens a web-based platform.
This software is quite unprofessional – it does not have many functionalities, and the Account Settings, such as language or Dark/Light theme do not work at all.
The MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is the world’s number one platform, preferred by over 80% of users. It offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface, advanced charting and analysis tools, as well as copy and auto-trade options. Its successor, MetaTrader 5 (MT5), has some advantages, but is still to gain popularity – it allows traders to execute trades on different financial markets through a single account and there is a hedging option. Both platforms are available as desktop and mobile (iOS and Android) application as well.
ProfitsTrade Trading Conditions
On the website the broker claims to offer “low spreads from 0.1 pips”, but as we see in the screenshot the EURUSD spread in the platform is 1.7 pips. Such wide spread for the most traded currency pair will not make any return on the trader’s investment, but will guarantee hefty profits on the broker’s part.
ProfitsTrade does not say anything about leverage also. Unregulated brokers usually advertise high leverage, promising big earnings to unsuspecting investors. We need to warn that although with leveraged trading there is the potential of making big profits, one can also lose quite a lot, sometimes even more than initially invested. Although there are regulated markets, such as Australia, where leverage is not restricted, other watchdog agencies impose leverage caps for non-professional traders: in the USA it is 1:50, while for brokers licensed by the CySEC in the EU or the FCA in the UK it is 1:30.
ProfitsTrade Deposit/Withdrawal Methods And Fees
The broker’s website does not advertise any payment methods by means of logos or text. In the Refund Policy we read that the client “can fund his/her account via credit or debit cards, SEPA transfers, wire transfers, e-wallets in fiat.” The client area had only three Deposit options, two of which turned out to be cryptocurrency. Whereas with standard payment methods one can file for a chargeback with their financial institution, Bitcoin is completely untraceable and anonymous, which makes it a preferred method of scam brokers.
The Credit/Debit card option uses the Praxis Cashier system, an unregulated Cypriot payment processor, which we find with many con-artists. There is a big inconsistency regarding minimum deposit – in one place they say “No minimum deposit”, but in the Accounts we see that there is a $250 minimum.
Concerning withdrawals, there is $50 minimum “unless otherwise decided by the Company at its sole discretion.” We also read that the “Company has the right to charge any withdrawal with a fee in the amount of $30.” There is also an administration fee of 0.1% for hedging positions, and other charges, which the broker may change “periodically by publishing them on the Website”. As expected, there is nothing specific published on the website.
Considering everything we have described above, we believe ProfitsTrade is an unlicensed and unregulated broker and we do not advise the investing with them.
How does the scam work?
Here we will outline the most common scamming scenario. The first step is to capture the users’ attention with ads promising fast money. When they click on such an ad, they are redirected to a website that would ask to provide email address and phone number. This personal information is then used by the scam brokers who will start calling and asking to invest with them. The initial deposit is usually around $250 from which these brokers will make a fat commission.
After that, users are transferred to senior brokers. These are expert con-artists who will sweet-talk them into putting even more money. When the traders decide to get out, however, it turns out it is not that simple. The scammers will talk them into postponing their withdrawals or will draw out various reasons to deny the request. All of this is with the objective to miss the limited time period for filing a chargeback with their bank and get their money back.
We should note that VISA and MasterCard have recently taken measures to combat online scams and are classifying all forex transactions as high risk. Furthermore, they have increased the period for filing a chargeback from 6 months to 540 days.
What to do when scammed?
In the event you become a victim of such a scam there are some things you should know. If you used a major credit card to fund the account you should immediately file for a chargeback with your bank or credit card provider. In case you supplied sensitive financial information to the scammers, such as account details and passwords, you should cancel your credit card or change your pass.
If you used bitcoin or bank wire, however, chances of recovering your funds are slim. Do not get hooked by any “recovery agents”, who prey on scam victims, using their hopes of retrieving their money. These are just another type of scammers who will ask you for an upfront fee in order to get your money back, but once you pay them, you will not hear from them again.
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