Beware! Mason Ford is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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Mason Ford is a Forex brokerage with unclear corporate information. It provides a web-based trading platform but does not support the MT4 trading platform. Clients have at their disposal an extremely generous leverage of up to 1:1000. Furthermore, there is a wide range of trading products from which to choose and a required minimum deposit of $250 which is just about the industry average. The spread on EUR/USD is 0.9 pips which is quite low for Forex trading and favorable for traders.
Mason Ford regulation & safety of funds
As was noted above – the website of the brokerage does not contain clear corporate information. We can only discern the name of the company – Mason Ford Group – with no further information provided which means the website is basically anonymous. We did come upon a UK contact number but we do not believe the company is registered there since an online search on the company yielded no relevant results. Nonetheless, it’s safe to assume that the company behind the brokerage, irrespective of its legitimacy, does not fall under any regulatory oversight. Furthermore, we warn clients that anonymity is a serious red flag in trading since the reputation of the company is a crucial factor in creating trust between the brokerage and the traders. In fact, the probable offshore location of the brokerage and the unspecified address highly incline 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 85 000 pounds, where as with CySEC it is up to 20 000 euro per person.
Mason Ford trading software
Putting that aside, the brokerage states that it provides a web-based trading platform. However, the MetaTrader4 is not among the supported terminals which is something we do not highly appreciate. Nonetheless, through a demo account we could see a spread on EUR/USD of 0.9 pips which is quite below the industry average which is advantageous, however, having in mind the regulatory uncertainty there is no way to know for certain that the trading conditions are legitimate. The leverage extended to traders is 1:1000 which is extremely high and trading with such a leverage hides the risk of losing more than the initial deposit. There is a wide range of trading products which is always a welcome sight and they include CFDs on forex pairs, shares, indices, commodities, precious metals and a good selection of crypto currencies.
Mason Ford deposit/withdrawal methods and fees
We find no information regarding the available payment methods for clients which shouldn’t strike us a surprise having in mind the anonymity of the website. Usually, in Forex trading potential clients of a brokerage may deposit or withdraw only via the standard Visa and MasterCard, as well as bank wire.
In the terms and conditions we did find out that the broker charges a dormant account fee.
All acounts that have been inactive for more than a year will be charged a $50 fee which isn’t all that excessive but worth highlighting nonetheless. Interestingly enough, we read that there are no withdrawal fees, however, this does not mean that the brokerage might charge some unexpected fees. This is 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.
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!