Beware! First Brokers 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.
First Brokers (fbrokers.io) relies on a very dark and futuristic style, that not many brokers apply to their interface. We believe that this approach can work if applied to a legitimate forex trading operations website. Whether this applies to First Brokers, the review will cover this.
Signing up was very easy and simple, which is not the most obvious cause for concern. The registration process looked familiar, which, if you have read our previous reviews, you would know that to be a sign of bad things to come.
After opening an account we were redirected to a familiar web-based trading software which also acted as the main client dashboard area. There we were given a EUR/USD spread of 0.5 pips which is amazing and very lucrative to traders. We were unable to change the leverage of 1:100. The trading terminal gave us forex pairs, crypto, commodities, stocks, and indices as instruments.
The website is available exclusively in English.
FIRST BROKERS REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
First Brokers is owned by Tera Holdings Ltd. This parent firm claims to be registered in Hong Kong, but does not clearly say that it is regulated there, or anywhere for that matter.
Readers be aware that a simple registration does not suffice to be offering forex trading. The missing ingredient is a legitimate license.
In Hong Kong, the responsibility to regulate the forex market falls into the hands of the Securities and Futures Commission. As one of the global centers in forex, Hong Kong’s regulator does not make it easy for brokers to get licensed. Needless to say, First Brokers is not regulated by the commission because we found no trace of it in the agency’s database.
And seeing that there is no mention of a regulation, we have to proclaim Tera Holdings Ltd, and thus First Brokers an UNREGULATED, one that does not offer legal forex trading. Unregulated brokerage firms pose a direct risk to invested capital!
Traders should be trading with risk-free brokers, that hold licensed from renowned and austere agencies, like the FCA or CySec , which have made a name for themselves as some of the top regulators. Readers should be aware that both agencies have adapted very strict rules of conduct, and their licensing framework guarantees safety and security for all clientele. A good example of this is the segregation of accounts which assures that client money and broker money are kept in separate accounts. Furthermore, FCA/CySEC brokers participate in a financial reimbursement scheme that cover traders losses in case the broker becomes insolvent. The FCA provides up to 85 000 pounds per person, while CySEC guarantees up to 20 000 euros.
FIRST BROKERS TRADING SOFTWARE
Remember when we said that this platform seemed familiar. Well, we had previously encountered it, the most recent of such occurrences being with 4EX7, a very scammer broker.
With the risk of repeating ourselves, there is nothing really here to satisfy the avid forex user: pending orders, chart customization options, and time frames are the only distinguishable aspects. This trading terminal is specifically used to lure in novice users who are ready to deposit and do not know any better.
FIRST BROKERS DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
Deposit according to what we saw in the dashboard for registered clients can be made via Visa, MasterCard, and two bitcoin options which were essentially BTC buying options. How buying bitcoin ties to depositing in a broker is a question reserved only for those that buy bitcoin from these source, something that we condemn. The minimum deposit is $250 by Credit/Debit cards.
The section left for withdrawals is very lackluster, to say the least. It seems to allow only for requesting a withdrawal, with no obvious payment method.
As per the T/C the broker executes a withdrawal within 96 working hours of the submission of the request. The broker does not charge withdrawal fees, yet third party charges may apply (bank, for example). This information cannot be trusted, seeing the state of the withdrawal gateway.
The broker has the right to remove or adjust allocated trading benefit from a withdrawal. What ever these last mean is not made clear, yet we interpret them as First Brokers’ ability to remove profits from a user’s withdrawals, which is unheard of and very inactive of a fraud.
Bonuses have to be traded with at least 50 000 times in order to be eligible for withdrawal. This is, simply put, a ridiculous amount to withdraw.
Furthermore, we come to a bonus related provision that seems to be gaining popularity with scammer brokers. It involves whether a request to withdrawal goes over 20% the initial deposit. If so, the bonus and profit from it will be removed from the withdrawal. So what is the point of the bonus?
The final major bonus clause states that the broker is not liable for any losses derived from the usage of the bonus. The total reimbursement amount for caused financial damages is $50.
Please note, that the Terms and Conditions can be changed without notifying the user, basically meaning that the broker can charge the user with made up fees and similar.
If an account is inactive (no transaction) for three months or holds less than $100 in her account, the account will be considered non-operational. The legal docs do not mention what this means. We assume the broker will close the account and claim all funds.
Yet that was not the official dormant account provision. This one is, and it states that for a period of one month of inactivity, the user will be charged a $50 fee on a monthly basis.
The indemnification clause is here to absolve the broker from any damage it causes a user:
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.