Beware! Gulf Brokers is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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GulfBrokers is Forex brokerage registered in Seychelles. It provides the MetaTrader5 platform and an extremely generous leverage. Traders are extended a leverage of up to 1:500. Furthermore, there is a wide range of trading products from which to choose and a spread of 3 pips on EUR/USD which, however, is double the industry average and too high in our view. The required minimum deposit is $500 which twice the industry average and not in favor for traders.
Gulf Brokers regulation & safety of funds
The company behind Gulf Brokerz is registered in the Republic of Seychelles. Here is a screenshot:
We learn through the website that the brokerage is regulated by the Financial Services Authority of Seychelles with a license number SDO13. Here we remind readers that the financial regulator of Seychelles – the FSA – cannot compare with prestigious regulatory agencies in Europe, most importantly because it does not provide participation in a financial mechanism by which client’s losses may be recovered in case of bankruptcy or fraud. There is also no assurance for the segragation of accounts which exposes the clients to the possibility of commingling – combining the broker’s finances with that of the client. Furthermore, the agency requires a starting capital of the meager $50 000 while CySEC requires at least $730 000.
After checking with the online registry of the Financial Services Authority we may conclude that the brokerage is in fact licensed by the authorities in Seychelles
The brokerage does provide the MetaTrader 5 trading platform and offers a test-drive as well, which isn’t something common with scammers. On it we could see that clients are extended a leverage of up to 1:500 which is absurdly high and cannot be provided anywhere in Europe due to new restrictions set by ESMA. Furthermore, we could see a spread of 3 pips on EUR/USD which is twice the industry average. Putting all that aside, the lack of credible regulation inclines us to suspect that potential clients of the brokerage may be open to substantial risk.
Traders needn’t have to worry themselves with such risk if they choose to trade with a brokerage regulated and authorized by a prestigious regulatory agency. Such agencies are the FCA in the UK or CySec in Cyprus which have been leading names in Forex trading for some time now. Their regulatory framework is composed of a number of strict rules which prevent clients from falling victims to fraud. Such rules include the segregation of accounts which assures that commingling with the client’s money is not possible. Furthermore, a license by such a regulatory body entails participation in a financial mechanism by which clients may be compensated if they suffer losses due to fraud or bankruptcy. With the FCA the compensation is up to 50 000 pounds, where as with CySEC it is up to 20 000 euro per person.
Gulf Brokers deposit/withdrawal methods and fees
In the brokers terms and conditions we did find some disturbing provisions. Here is a screenshot:
The provision reads that on the first of April the brokerage will introduce a $10 monthly maintenance fee. This is certainly not excessive but readers should have in mind another provision we found. You may see for yourself again:
In layman’s terms – the brokerage leaves for itself a loophole which may used in order to incur any fee it wishes. We always remind readers of all the ways a trader may test the brokerage’s intentions. Firstly, traders are advised 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?
Besides judging the brokerage beforehand through the info given on its website, a valuable piece of information in the trading world would be precisely how a scam would go about. Here is a description of the typical three steps:
Through clicking an ad with promises for fast money, you will be redirected to a website such as Bitcoin Evolution or Crypto Cash 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 motive here is quite straightforward – traders have a limited time window for filing a chargeback with their bank and get their money back. The “recovery department” will simply want to mislead you into missing this crucial period and, along the way, losing any chance you might have of getting the money back.
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. The growth of scammers that are spawning everyday in forex trading has forced both financial services giants Visa and Mastercard to step up and take action. MasterCard has already increased the previous time period of six months for filing a chargeback to a year and a half, effectively bypassing the “recovery department” part of the scam.
If, however, you have provided the broker with your credit card number and CVV code, 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!