Beware! AlphabetBTC is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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AlphabetBTC is a CFD brokerage based in Bulgaria. It provides а web-based trading platform, not the the MetaTrader 4 platform. The spread on EUR/USD is at 3.1 pips which is quite high and more than double the industry average. The required minimum deposit is the standard $250 and there are crypto currencies available as payment methods.
AlphabetBTC regulation & safety of funds
Reading through the terms and conditions of the brokerage we discern that the website is actually operated by a Bulgarian company with the name AlphabetBTC LTD. We remind readers that Bulgaria is a member-state of the European Union and online Forex trading is duly integrated within its regulatory framework which is modeled after the ESMA guidelines.
However, we find no mention of a license by the Bulgarian authorities – thus we may safely conclude that the brokerage AlphabetBTC does not fall under any regulatory oversight whatsoever. However, the brokerage does inform us about its trading conditions and it provides a web-based trading platform. Through a demo account we could get a sneak peak at the web-based trading platform the brokerage provides. Here is a screenshot:
As you can see – there are quite a few trading products which we always consider an advantage since a wide variety of trading options works only in favor for traders. Among the trading products available we see CFDs CFDs on currency pairs, cryptocurrencies, indices, commodities, precious metals and stocks. However, the spread is way higher than what we would consider acceptable for traders. We find no information regarding the leverage extended to traders which is crucial to know in Forex. The brokerage does not provide the MetaTrader 4 trading platform (only a web-based one) which we always consider a disadvantage since it is the foremost trading terminal at the moment equipped with features such as almost a 100 market indicators, as well as customizable trading robots.
Putting aside all that was outlined – the lack of regulation incline us to suspect that potential clients of the brokerage 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 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 85 000 pounds, where as with CySEC it is up to 20 000 euro per person.
AlphabetBTC deposit/withdrawal methods and fees
Even though the brokerage puts up the logos of popular payment methods such as Visa, MasterCard and bank wire, as well as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and entropay. the popular e-wallets QIWI, WebMoney, Neteller, Skrill, however, are missing.
Going through the terms and conditions of the brokerage we did come upon provisions worth noting. Here is a screenshot:
We discern that there is a withdrawal fee of $20 for credit and debit cards, as well as 1 percent fee for withdrawals via bank transfer. Furthermore, the brokerage also posits a minimum withdrawal amount of $300 for wire transfers and $50 for credit cards. Such provisions are excessive and unacceptable in Forex trading – legitimate brokerages may charge some sort of a withdrawal fee but requiring a minimum withdrawal amount should be viewed always with suspicion.
Furthermore, we have to highlight the bonus trading conditions. Here is a screenshot:
As is usually the case with bonus trading conditions – the broker will flaunt an attractive bonus promotion only for the traders to later learn it is tied with a dire trading volume requirement in order to withdraw it. With AlphabetBTC we learn that traders have to complete a trading volume of 40 times every bonus unit they have received. Such requirements and obstacles in front of withdrawing are typical for unregulated brokerages which should not be trusted. Usually with legitimate brokerage traders won’t have such hurdles in their way and may withdraw in a straightforward manner. However, the brokerage also states they may withdraw without meeting the requirement only if they forfeit 25 percent of the funds in the account which is, again, absurd and only further speaks of the ill-minded intentions of the brokerage.
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 Btcoinpro – 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!