Beware! 360 SmartFx is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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360SmartFx is a CFD brokerage based in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It provides the MetaTrader4 platform and a spread of 1.6 pips on EUR/USD which is a bit above the industry average of a pip and a half. There is a wide range of trading options and the required minimum deposit is $250 which is just about the industry average and nothing out of the ordinary. Furthermore, traders are extended a generous leverage of 1:200.
360 SmartFx regulation & safety of funds
According to the website of the brokerage 360 SmartFX is owned and operated by the company Game Capital Ads Limited which is based in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The company has become notorious and has gotten under the radar of several financial watchdogs including the Italian CONSOB. We can safely conclude that the brokerage is not subject to any regulatory oversight because the government of SVG has multiple times publicly stated it does not oversee online Forex trading. We find no mention of a license from another country and we can thus safely conclude that 360SmartFX does not fall under any regulatory oversight whatsoever.
The lack of regulation is quite troubling because there is no guarantee of the legitimacy of the brokerage besides the word of the brokerage itself, which, when money is involved, hardly suffices. However, most of the brokerages from the group of Game Capital Ads Limited such as DigitalFX, FirstClubFX were limited to binary options trading where as 360 SmartFX offers traders the MetaTrader 4 platform with CFD trading. A quick look on the platform reveals that it is actually provided by another company – WestMediaGroup – which isn’t uncommon among unregulated brokerages, but it isn’t something worth condoning either. Through a demo account we could see a spread of 1.6 pips on EUR/USD which is higher than the industry average of 1.5 pips and not very favorable for traders in our view. There is an impressive selection of trading options, including a lot of CFDs on cryptocurrency pairs which is also an advantage for traders. However, the lack of regulation and the offshore location inclines us to believe that potential clients may be open to substantial risk.
We urge traders to exclude such risk in trading by only associating with brokers regulated by prestigious regulatory agencies, such as the FCA and CySec, which require compliance with a number of strict rules that give significant assurance for the security of the clients funds.
The segregation of accounts is among the rules which are especially important in the trading world, because it drastically lowers the risk of possible commingling.
Another is the participation in a compensatory scheme by which the client’s losses will be covered in the unlikely case the broker goes bankrupt or attempts to swindle traders.
360 SmartFX deposit/withdrawal methods and fees
In the terms and conditions of the brokerage we couldn’t find any especially disturbing withdrawal provision, however, we did find provisions regarding the bonuses which render such promotions useless. Here is a screenshot:
It reads that “traders must buy or sell at least 3.3 lots in real money for each $10 bonus.” Basically what this means is that clients will be unable withdraw if they have taken advantage of a bonus promotion, since such a requirement is extremely difficult to comply with. Furthermore, 360 SmartFX may always decide to come up with some unexpected fees once the clients has invested funds. This is why we advise traders to always put up only the required minimum deposit, instead of risking a bigger amount with no certainty. Afterwards, they may also try to withdraw a small amount in order to check for any unexpected fees or delays. Such fees and delays are usually the signs of a scammer.
How does the scam work?
Even though the forex trading world is extremely large and encompasses millions of people around the globe, the most common scamming is pretty simple and straightforward and as such – it’s not particularly daring to avoid. Here is a quick overview of how it is done:
Through clicking an ad with promises for fast money, you will be redirected to a website such as Bitcoin Evolution or Cashless PayGroup where registration will require you to give your address, email and phone number. After sharing your personal information, you will being receiving calls from brokers, compelling you to invest with them and win big. After a few minutes hearing their pitches, you decide to deposit some $200-250. And just like that – the scammers take a fat commission from this initial deposit.
After they are done with you, senior scammers begin working you into putting even more money. They say it’s the only way to profit from trading even more. After making the mistake of investing even further, you’ll begin wanting to get out of this and withdraw what you have left.
Unfortunately, the con-artists have no such thing in mind. They will now begin persuading you to wait it out and not withdraw right now. The angle here is pretty blunt – traders have a limited time period for filing a chargeback with their bank and get their money back. The “recovery department” will simply want to mislead you into missing thе crucial period and, along the way, losing any chance you might have of getting the money back.
It is important here to take notice that both Visa and MasterCard are taking measures to combat unregulated forex brokerages by classifying all forex transactions as high risk. And with the case WigMarkets – they are correct in doing so. Furthermore, supporting their intention with clear actions – MasterCard has increased the previous time period of six months for filing a chargeback to a year and a half. Visa is expected to do the same in December.
What to do when scammed?
As was mentioned above, scamming is quite the common in the trading world and, sadly, even you might suffer from it. In such an unfortunate case there still may be some available options for you.
You may contact your bank or credit card provider and file a chargeback.
If, however, you have provided the broker with your credit card details, immediately cancel your credit card.
If you have given information regarding your online banking pass – you should switch it asap!
Beware of potential calls from self-described “recovery agencies”! They prey on scammed and vulnerable traders who are desperate to recover their losses. They will require an “up-front” payment to help you, but after paying them, no such help will be coming your way!