Beware! GigaFX is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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GigaFX is a Forex brokerage registered in the Dominican Republic. Traders are provided both with the MetaTrader4 trading platform and a web-based platform, as well as a wide range of trading products. From the website we gather that potential clients are also extended an generous leverage of up to 1:200. At 3 pips on EUR/USD, the spread offered by GigaFX is twice the industry average and quite high.
GigaFX regulation & safety of funds
According to the website of the brokerage the company behind it is registered in the Dominican Republic by the name Four Square International Venture Ltd. Going through the terms and conditions of the brokerage we find no mention of a regulatory oversight and this shouldn’t come as a surprises since the Dominican Republic is not known for its strict regulatory standards. We can safely conclude that GigaFX does not fall under any regulatory oversight. The lack of regulation brings with it a whole hornets nest of troubles, most important of which is the lack of authorities to which to turn in case of fraud.
However, the brokerage does provide the MetaTrader4 trading platform which is the foremost trading terminal in Forex trading at the moment. as well as a web-based platform with a demo account. Here is a screenshot:
Through a demo account we could see a fixed spread of three pips on EUR/USD which is twice the industry average and in no way favorable for traders in our opinion. Furthermore, the leverage extended to clients – 1:200 – is quite balanced and in no way excessive. A very high leverage hides the risk of losing more than you have initially invested. The required minimum deposit is the industry average of $250 which is nothing out of the ordinary. However, having in mind the lack of credible regulation we are inclined to believe that the safety of the clients funds may be compromised.
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. The FCA compensates traders up to 85 000 pounds where as CySEC guarantees up to 20 000 euro per person.
GigaFX deposit/withdrawal methods and fees
Potential clients of the brokerage may deposit or withdraw only via the standard VISA and MasterCard, as well as wire transfer and the popular e-wallet Skrill.
Going through the brokers terms we did come across worrisome provisions such as a dormant account fee. Here is a screenshot:
It reads that if a client’s account is inactive for more than a half a year a fee of 10% will be levied on it every month. Dormant account fees are something normal in Forex trading, however, this is a bit excessive in our view. Furthermore, we read in the terms that there is a minimum withdrawal amount of $3000 via wire transfer. This is an absurdly high amount and speaks about the ill-minded intentions of the brokerage.
The brokerage openly states that there is no withdrawal fees, however, 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?
One of the reasons regulation has such value in the trading world is because scamming is quite common and it acts as a sort of guarantee that such a thing would not happen. Nevertheless, here is how a typical scam would go about:
Through clicking an ad with promises for fast money, you will be redirected to a website such as CashlessPay Group or Crypto Revolt 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 of Axe invest – 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.
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!