Beware! Grand Trade is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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GrandTrade is a binary options brokerage registered in Belize. Clients are provided with a web-based trading platform and an adequate selection of trading products. The maximum pay out on EUR/USD, however, is 85 percent which is a bit low and lower than what we would describe as favorable for traders.
GrandTrade regulation & safety of funds
According to the website the company behind the brokerage is registered in the Republic of Belize with the name Oracle Stone Ltd. We further find written that the company is supposedly licensed and regulated by the local International Financial Services Commission (IFSC). Here is a screenshot of the license:
Forex brokerages in Belize have to guarantee legitimacy by having at least $500 000 in starting capital. However, even though a license by the IFSC is better than nothing, it still does not carry the same weight in Forex trading as a license by the NFA in the US or the FCA in the United Kingdom.
Going on the online registry of the regulatory agency we didn’t find mention of the company’s name which leads us to conclude that the information presented on the website is false and that the brokerages does not fall under the regulatory oversight of the IFSC.
However, when going through the terms and conditions of the brokerage we notice a discrepancy in the corporate information. Here is a screenshot:
Here we read that the supposed licensed company is registered in London actually. Such irregularities in the corporate information are the signs of a shady brokerage and furthermore, the false claim of regulation leads us to conclude that clients may well be exposed to much unwanted risk if they choose to do business with Grand Trade.
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.
Grand Trade trading software
The brokerage does provide a web based trading platform and offers a test-drive as well, which isn’t something common with scammers. Through the demo account we were able to get a glimpse of the platform. Here is a screenshot:
On it we could see that the maximum payout is at 85 percent on EUR/USD which is quite low and disappointing. We remind readers here that throughout Europe binary options trading has been banned and offshore brokerages are those that mostly provide this service to traders. Of course there are unregulated EU brokerages that are operating illegally which also offer it, however, we urge readers to steer clear of such firms.
Grand Trade deposit/withdrawal methods and fees
Potential clients of the brokerage may deposit or withdraw via a wide range of payment methods which include Visa, MasterCard, wire transfer, as well as Neteller, Skrill. QIWI, OK Pay, WebMoney, Fasa Pay.
We did find quite a few provision worth noting in the terms and conditions.
We discern that there is a profit clearance fee ranging between 1.50 and 5.00 per trade, as well as a maintenance fee of $20 collected every month. Such fees are not found in the terms and conditions of legitimate brokerages. Profit clearance fees only exposes GrandTrade’s intent of making money through slowly draining the clients funds.
Last but not least – the bonus trading conditions:
There is a requirement for a minimum trading volume in order to withdraw from an account that has taken advantage of the bonus promotion. In this case it is 40 to 50 times the bonus amount. We urge readers to take notice that almost always a bonus promotion, especially with unregulated brokerages, is tied with extreme trading requirement conditions which make it almost impossible to withdraw your money.
Having in mind this caveat, 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?
Information is a pretty solid criteria for judging a brokers legitimacy. Scammers would not share much of their information, because precisely there inconsistencies and irregularities may appear which expose the whole set-up. A good example is this very broker and the misleading information it gave regarding its regulatory status.
After informing themselves for the brokers trading conditions – traders should be well-versed in the way of the scam:
Through clicking an ad with promises for fast money, you will be redirected to a website such as Bitcoin Evolution or Crypto Revolt where registration will require you to give your 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 peer 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!