Beware! AskoBID is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
RECOMMENDED FOREX BROKERS
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Open trading accounts with at least two brokers.
AskoBID is yet another offshore Forex brokerage registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). It offers trading in currencies (Forex), Stocks, Commodities, Indices and Cryptocurrencies. There are four types of accounts advertised on their website, each of them propounding maximum leverage of 1:500, but with different minimum deposit amounts:
This leverage is extremely high, and although the proposition is of big profits, it poses huge risks, as your losses will be multiplied also. This is why licensing authorities in the USA, UK and EU have imposed leverage caps for retail traders – 1:50 in the US and 1:30 in the EU and UK.
Furthermore, on the homepage message is different: minimum deposit if 250 EUR and 1:400 leverage. These are inconsistencies that an established broker licensed by the FCA or CySEC cannot afford, not to say that offering bonuses is strictly prohibited by those authorities.
The registration form asks for basic information, such as First and Last Name, Email address and Phone number. We received an email asking to confirm the account and complete the registration, but it appeared that even without such confirmation the account was already active.
A quick search on the internet revealed more facts: “On 4 May 2020, the Italian regulator CONSOB warned investors about the FirstCapital (www.firstcapital.fm) broker scam and its operators Sigma Consulting Ltd (Bulgaria) and Solt Corp Ltd (St. Vincent & the Grenadines).”, the latter being the company behind AskoBID according to their own website.
Considering the above, we advise to stay away from AskoBID as such offshore brokers are anonymous and can disappear any time without notice!
ASKOBID REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
As we mentioned above, AskoBID’s operator, Solt Corp Ltd. is registered in the SVG, according to the information in the footer of the website. Neither of those names, however, are mentioned in the Terms & Conditions Agreement, but is simply referred to as “the Company”. SVG is a well-known offshore zone, notorious for scam brokerages, and does not regulated Forex trading. In the FAQ section on the website we find the following:
“The safety and security of our clients personal and financial information is our top priority at ASKoBID. As a result, we utilize the latest and most advanced technologies to protect your funds and your personal information. In addition, we have implemented various corporate governance policies to expand our security efforts. This includes, for example, separating our clients’ funds from our operational funds.”
Segregation of funds is a standard practice of all regulated and licensed brokers, but after reading carefully the Terms and Conditions of the Agreement you will enter in upon signing up for an account with them, we did not find anything to support this. Therefore, we believe the above to be an empty claim.
The Agreement also stipulates that “In the event of trading account`s inactivity for a period exceeding 90 days, the Trader will be charged a fee in amount equal to 10% from the available cash on the trading account. This fee shall be deducted on a monthly basis at the beginning of each month until the Trader will resume his activity on the trading account.” With most legitimate brokerages the inactivity fee is usually a flat fee of no more than $20 and they charge it after at least 6 months.
ASKOBID TRADING SOFTWARE
The AskoBID trading platform is a web-based software that opens in the same window as their website, which is quite unprofessional, as well as not user friendly. Although it looks flashy and may catch the eye of an inexperienced trader, we believe it is of much lower quality than established providers such as the MT4 or MT5 trading platforms, which offer both web and desktop versions, as well as mobile apps.
AskoBID’s platform does not offer even the basic functionality of a Demo or Trial account – a feature present in every recognized and respected provider. The EUR/USD spread we saw on the platform was in the range of 1.5 – 2.0 pips, which is normal, but considering this is not an established and well-known trading software, we cannot be certain it is not manipulated.
ASKOBID DEPOSIT/WITHDRAWAL METHODS AND FEES
The minimum deposit amount is 250 EUR, but as we noted above, there is a grave inconsistency when they describe the different accounts they offer – the lowest minimum deposit listed on them as 5000 EUR. The website supports Arabic and German languages, in addition to English, but AskoBID accepts deposits only in EUR.
The deposit area looks very unprofessional, if not incompetent, with a big “Advanced Cashier” button that does nothing when clicked. Deposit options are Credit and Debit Cards (VISA, MasterCard), Paycent, CaixaBank, CECA, ecoPayz or Bitcoin.
If we look at some of those in detail we find the following: the Paycent option opened in a new window but the amount we were being charged was already 280.26 EUR (more than 30 EUR surcharge over the 250 EUR that was going to be deposited in the account), while the CECA option was not available: “Gateway is down due to maintenance”.
Although the FAQ stated, “deposit options include… a choice of eWallets, such as Skrill”, such alternative options preferred by traders – PayPal, Skrill or Neteller – are not available in the deposit area.
The withdrawal policy seems in line with ordinary practice – AskoBID does not have a minimum withdrawal amount and does not charge a withdrawal fee. They claim your Withdrawal request will be processed within 72 hours or 3 business days once your account has been verified by submitting Proof of Identification and Proof of Residence, which is also normal.
As previously noted, AskoBID offers bonuses: “100% bonus up to €1,000 to new clients on their first deposit.” or “50% Bonus on each deposit.” Though it is not very obvious what the amount of the bonus is, it is perfectly clear that withdrawing that bonus is nearly impossible. As noted in the Bonus Policy the Client has to execute a minimum trading volume, but the clause is so ambiguous that it is extremely hard to understand its meaning:
These are unsavoury practices designed to lure unsuspecting users and clearly show that this broker is strictly UNREGULATED, and therefore is a risk to all invested capital in it!
How does the scam work?
The most common scams are quite simple and straightforward and involve a multi-level scheme that usually goes by the following scenario. Internet users are lured by the numerous ads promising quick and easy fortunes by trading in the Forex world. When they click on such an ad they are redirected to a website tailored to the continuation of these false pledges, which asks them to register with their personal information. This data is then used by the scam brokers who immediately start to work on getting them to make an initial deposit of $200 – $300 by making even greater promises of big profits.
Once the users make their first deposit, the scam brokers get a fat commission on it. Now the senior scammers enter the scene. They are smooth talkers who will not stop at anything to convince traders that they are on their way to become very rich, if only they follow their advice and deposit more money to trade with.
Sooner or later the users will start suspecting something is not right and will want to withdraw their funds. This will not prove very easy, however. The scammer will do everything to delay their requests, by persuading them now is not the right time, asking for additional documents, or referring to specific withdrawal clauses. This is also part of the scam since the con-artists are trying to delay the users from filing for chargeback with their financial institution, and they miss the time frame for such chargeback, traders will lose their money without a chance of getting it back.
What to do if scammed?
If you’re scammed you should immediately file for a chargeback with your credit card provider. Good news is that VISA and MasterCard recently extended the chargeback period to a year and a half in an effort to combat online fraud. If you deposited with bitcoin or bank wire there is not much chance.
If you provided the scammers with any bank account or credit card details, such as security codes or passwords, make sure to cancel the card and talk to your bank. Also, if you are being approached by any “recovery agencies” promising to get your money back for a fee, do not fall for that. This is a piggyback scam, using the vulnerability of recently defrauded people and their hope the fraud may be reversed, and it will not recover your funds. These so-called agents will collect their fee and you will never hear from them again.