Beware! AlphaTrade FN is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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AlphaTrade FN is a Forex brokerage presumably registered in the UK. It provides a web-based trading platform, however, there is no demo account available and trading conditions remain unclear. Furthermore, the required minimum deposit is the hefty sum of $500 which is above the industry average and not in favor for the traders.
AlphaTrade FN regulation & safety of funds
The website does inform us that the company behind the brokerage is registered with the name Alpha Trade FN in London.
Online Forex trading is integrated within the regulatory framework of the UK and is under the regulatory oversight of perhaps the most prestigious agency in Europe – the Financial Conduct Authority. However, the brokerage states in its terms and conditions that it is licensed by the Cypriot Securities and Exchange Commission. This is quite eerie and after checking with the online registry of CySEC – we can safely conclude that AlphaTrade FN does not fall under any regulatory oversight. It’s safe to suspect that the brokerage is perhaps registered offshore in some preferred by scammers location such as the Marshall Islands in order to avoid government oversight. The Marshall islands or Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are among the most favorite locations for offshore brokerages due to lenient registration requirements.
Putting that aside, the brokerage further purports to provide a web-based trading platform. However, there is no demo account available and we couldn’t access the trading platform. Having in mind the lack of corporate information on the website, as well as the obvious lack of regulation we suspect the brokerage is quite shady. Furthermore, presenting misleading information is a clear-cut sign of trouble in the Forex trading world. Potential clients may be exposed 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 Financial Conduct Authority 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 GBP, where as with CySEC it is up to 20 000 EUR per person
AlphaTrade FN deposit/withdrawal methods and fees
As is quite often the case with anonymous brokerages – we couldn’t find any information about the supported payment methods. However, going through the terms and conditions of the brokerage we did find quite a few troubling provisions. There is a 15 percent withdrawal fee which is quite excessive. Such a withdrawal fee only further speaks about the ill-minded intentions of the brokerage. Such instances are the reason why we always advise traders to 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?
Unfortunately, the possibility of a scam looms over almost every trade in forex, especially if you are dealing with an unregulated brokerage. That is why we believe traders should be acquainted with the methods of a scam. Here is how it would typically go about:
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. Furthermore, due to the high instances of fraud – both Visa and MasterCard have decided to sidestep scammers as best they can in Forex trading. The first thing we have seen so far is that MasterCard has increased the previous time period of six months for filing a chargeback to a year and a half with their rival Visa expected to follow suit in December.
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!