Beware! InvestBoost 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.
InvestBoost is an offshore broker that offers trading in Forex, Indices, Stocks and Commodities. They have six types of accounts starting from a $250 minimum deposit requirement, and going to $500,000. Other differences are in the trading conditions (spreads and leverage) and bonus percentage.
They do not advertise a Demo account, nor did we find such options in their client area or trading platform. This is the first red flag because every respected broker offers one.
To register for a Live account we had to provide First and Last names, Email address, Phone number, and Country of residence. At completing the process successfully we were redirected to the client area, but there was no confirmation or any other email sent to our mailbox – another sign that not everything is legit with this broker since any provider of online services, especially financial, will make sure there is an email engine implemented on their website.
InvestBoost Regulation and safety of funds
According to the footer the broker’s website is owned and operated by Malarkey Consulting LTD, company registration number: 2020/IBC00078 and registered address 8 Copthall, Roseau Valley, 00152 Commonwealth of Dominica. In the Contacts page there is another entity listed with the same address. What’s more, the phone number there is definitely a fake – take a look:
Dominica is an offshore jurisdiction in the Carribean that does not regulate forex brokers, which makes it an attractive destination for scam operations. The address both companies are registered on is quite familiar too – over the last year we have seen several broker websites with it and many of them owned and operated by one of these two companies. Here is the most recent example – just two weeks ago the Italian regulator, CONSOB, ordered the blackout of a Widdershins Group’s website for offering financial services illegally – check it out:
Another example would be from the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), regarding a website owned by Malarkey Consulting with the same Dominica address – although the parent company name is not listed in the warning, it can be easily checked on the website in question:
This scam is actually quite common – con-artists try to lure investors with promises for “competitive trading terms” and “safety of funds”, and when they are exposed by a regulatory body, they just forge a new website and start again. The fact is they are misappropriating the requirements for licensed and regulated brokers, but since they are NOT regulated, there is no oversight over the broker’s compliance to them.
Top watchdog agencies, such as the FCA and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), impose strict rules on their licensees – Client Account Segregation requires that clients’ funds are kept separate from the broker’s operating funds. while Negative Balance Protection ensures that traders cannot lose more money than what they invested. Other policies include a Minimum Capital Requirement of 730,000 EUR in order to guarantee the broker’s good financial standing and participation in Compensation Schemes, which provide additional assurance for investors’ funds up to a certain amount (85,000 GBP in the UK and 20,000 EUR in the EU).
InvestBoost, however, is an offshore, unregulated broker, so anything they say or promise on their website should be taken with a grain of salt. They may claim your money is safe with them, but we would not advise risking that.
InvestBoost Trading Software
The broker advertises a cTrader platform supposedly available as a Desktop and Mobile (Android and iOS) application. As it turned out, the download links are fake – they navigate to the registration page. InvestBoost also offers a web-based trading software, Webtrader, which is very far from professional standards in terms of design and functionalities. Actually, it does not offer even a fragment of the features established platforms, such as MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or MetaTrader 5 (MT5) provide, not even a Demo account.
MT4 is the world’s number one platform, preferred by more than 80% of users. It offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface, sophisticated charting and analysis tools, as well as copy and auto-trade options. It can be further customized to create different trading strategies using its proprietary MQL4 programming language. Its successor, MT5, although not as popular has some advantages – it allows traders to execute trades on different financial markets through a single account and there is a hedging option. It boasts various features such as additional order types (“Buy Stop Limit” and “Sell Stop Limit”) and a built-in e-mail service in which it surpasses the MT4. Both platforms are available as a desktop, web and mobile (iOS and Android) application.
InvestBoost Trading Conditions
The broker’s trading conditions are very far from “competitive”. Legitimate, regulated brokers would never offer more than a 1 – 1.5 pips spread for EURUSD, whereas in the screenshot above we see a 3 pips spread for this most traded currency pair. Such a wide spread makes the cost of trade very high and is not competitive at all. It guarantees hefty profits for the brokerage on the back of traders’ losses.
In the trading platform we were assigned a leverage of 1:100 and there was no way to change it or ask for a change of the account conditions in the client area. Trading on leverage comes with significant risks, especially to inexperienced traders. Although in theory it allows for bigger profits, one may incur great losses too, often much greater than the invested funds. That is why, most regulatory authorities impose leverage caps for non-professional traders: in the USA it is 1:50, while for brokers licensed in the EU, the UK and Australia it is even lower, 1:30.
InvestBoost Deposit/Withdrawal Methods And Fees
InvestBoost provides the standard payment methods – credit / debit card and wire transfer, as well as different ePayment options via a Russian electronic payment platform, Piastrix. They also offer deposits via Bitcoin which is a method scammers love because it is anonymous and untraceable. Popular methods, such as PayPal and preferred by traders e-wallets, eg. Skrill and Neteller are not supported, however.
The minimum initial deposit is $250, which is more than double the standards of regulated brokers – they ask for $100 from traders on average. There is no information about any deposit fees, however, or a minimum withdrawal amount. Regarding withdrawal fees details are also quite vague:
There is no “charge guideline” to be found on their website, however. And the Dormant Account fee is excessive – regulated brokers rarely charge such fees, and if they do, it is usually a flat fee of no more than $10.
Considering everything above, we warn our readers to stay away from InvestBoost as they are an unregulated, offshore broker – definitely a scam!
How does the scam work?
Here we will outline the most common scamming scenario. The first step is to capture the users’ attention with ads promising fast money. When they click on such an ad, they are redirected to a website that would ask to provide their email address and phone number. This personal information is then used by the scam brokers who will start calling and asking to invest with them. The initial deposit is usually around $250 from which these brokers will make a fat commission.
After that, users are transferred to senior brokers. These are expert con-artists who will sweet-talk them into putting even more money. When the traders decide to get out, however, it turns out it is not that simple. The scammers will talk them into postponing their withdrawals or will draw out various reasons to deny the request. All of this is with the objective to miss the limited time period for filing a chargeback with their bank and get their money back.
We should note that VISA and MasterCard have recently taken measures to combat online scams and are classifying all forex transactions as high risk. Furthermore, they have increased the period for filing a chargeback from 6 months to 540 days.
What to do when scammed?
In the event you become a victim of such a scam there are some things you should know. If you used a major credit card to fund the account you should immediately file for a chargeback with your bank or credit card provider. In case you supplied sensitive financial information to the scammers, such as account details and passwords, you should cancel your credit card or change your pass.
If you used bitcoin or bank wire, however, chances of recovering your funds are slim. Do not get hooked by any “recovery agents”, who prey on scam victims, using their hopes of retrieving their money. These are just another type of scammers who will ask you for an upfront fee in order to get your money back, but once you pay them, you will not hear from them again.