Beware! SmartBtcFX is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Open trading accounts with at least two brokers.
SmartBtcFX is one of a series of unregulated brokers, including SmartProFX, FirstFXClub, 360SmartFX, CryptoClubFX and GameBtcFx, all of which run by the same offshore company and blacklisted by the Italian Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) for targeting customers in Italy without proper authorization.
Otherwise SmartBtcFX offers several account types with a leverage of up to 1:200 and a choice of over 60 forex pairs with lots of exotci currencies like the Philippine Peso, Mexican Peso, Hungarian Forint, Hong Kong Dollar, Danish Krone, Czech Krona, South African Rand, Turkish Lira, Singapore Dollar, Swedish Krona, Russian Ruble, Polish Zloty and Norwegian Krone, some crypto coins including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, Ripple, Zcahs, Dash, IOTA and Stellar, commodities, indices, stocks, oil, natural gas, gold, silver, platinum and palladium.
Spreads as advertised on SmartBtcFX web page should start at 1,6 pips, but when we tried their trading platform we saw spreads of just 0,1 pip, without a trading commission. That is unrealistic and combined with the fact that the platform was branded with the name of another company – West Media Group, rises our suspicion about the legitimacy of the broker as a whole.
SmartBtcFX regulation & safety of funds
As we noted SmartBtcFX is one of a series of similar websites run by Game Capital Ads Limited., a company based on St. Vincent and the Grenadines. SmartBtcFX and all its sister sites are blacklisted by the Italian CONSOB for illegally targeting Italian and EU citizens.
EU is a strictly regulated market and all companies, offering financial services there, should acquire a license by an official regulator from an EU country, such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK or the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
Besides the rigorous oversight and the strict regulations to which they are subjected to, licensed EU brokers are also required to participate in client compensation schemes, which basically insure the trading capital to a certain level – 20 000 EUR with most regulators throughout EU and 50 000 GBP with FCA in the UK.
SmartBtcFX deposit/withdrawal methods and fees
The minimum deposit requirement to start trading with SmartBtcFX is 250 USD and the payment methods include bank wire, VISA, MasterCard, Neteller, AstroPay and even bitcoins. However, Skrill is not available and that is worth noting, because since last October all brokers, offering Skrill to their EU customers should demonstrate they hold a legit forex license. As we noted, SmartBtcFX does not have a license.
SmartBtcFX also offers trading bonuses, but that comes with a price – if you accept a trading bonus you will have to trade at least 3,3 lots for every 10 USDS bonus you have accepted. That means, if you accept 300 USD as a bonus, you will not be able to withdraw until you reach a trading volume of at least 10 000 000 USD and that might prove quite challenging. (One standard lot is 100 000 USD.)
How does the scam work?
Scams always start with a promise of unrealistic, fast and easy returns with a minimum investment and no risk at all. You will be greeted with such an offer if you stumble across one of the so called robo scam websites like Crypto Revolt and Bitcoin Evolution. And you will be urged to leave your e-mail and phone on a simple registration form. And if you do that, you will instantly be transferred to the web page of a unregulated, offshore broker, where you will be asked to deposit about 250 USD.
Take a note that your first trades with the scam broker will be amazingly profitable and soon the money in your account will more than double. That however will be plain manipulation. Scammers simply want to make sure you will deposit a larger sum.
And about the same time you will receive a call as well. It will be from your “senior account manager”, who will try to convince you, that if you want to make some real cash you will definitely have to invest more – like 10 000 USD for a start.
You may be surprised, but most people do invest that kind of money and never realize they have been scammed until the very moment they decide to withdraw some of their funds. Than it suddenly turns out that a withdraw is not possible, because of some minimum trade volume requirement, most often linked to the welcoming bonus you have so carelessly accepted, when you have opened your account in the first place. It could be anything, but in the end it will all come to the same – you will not be allowed to withdraw.
What to do if scammed?
Honestly, if you have been scammed you do not have too many options. Probably the best chance to get your deposit back is to file for a charge back with your credit card provider. Fortunately both MasterCard and VISA extended the maximum period in which you will be allowed to do that to 540 days.
And if by any chance you have revealed scammers your personal banking details, immediately change your online banking password and block your credit card.
One final advise. Do not trust the so called recovery agencies, because they will simply squeeze you for some more cash and basically that will be the end of the story.