Beware! EarnMarkets 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.
EarnMarkets is a Nigeria-based firm that claims to be an investment broker trading with currencies, CFDs and shares. At a very superficial glance, their website may seem almost credible, but a minimum of scrutiny reveals this as an illusion, like the emails from a Nigerian prince who has decided to leave us an inheritance.
Alongside the address in Lagos, Nigeria, in it’s website EarnMarkets lists the address and telephone number of a “Head Office” in London. This is probably to give the impression that the broker operates mainly from one of the largest financial centers in the world. However, a quick check if the registry of the UK regulatory agency – Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – predictably shows that there is no company of that name registered there. Clients should therefore not expect EarnMarkets to be bound in any way by the regulations and client protections that licensed brokers in the United Kingdom and European Union must meet.
While the website states that the company’s fundamental values are “transparency and credibility”, in reality EarnMarkets is a very shady and opaque operation. Nowhere on the EarnMarkets’s website could be found the company information and documentation about the financial and legal conditions that can be expected from a legitimate broker. The only information that could be found in the section of the site, titled “Terms and conditions”, is а long disclaimer, explaining that EarnMarkets “do not warrant the accuracy of the materials” provided in their website, “either expressly or impliedly, for any particular purpose and expressly disclaims any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose”. If the missing information, typos, empty hyperlinks and unfinished sections on the website aren’t enough to tell it’s a scam, that should be enough on its own.
EARNMARKETS REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
Nigeria’s forex market is unrestricted and unregulated, which means that investing through companies registered there carries huge risk, and in cases with shady firms like EarnMarkets – likely certain losses. We therefore advise avoiding promises of easy profits in unregulated markets, and instead investing only through brokers, licensed by respected and trustworthy regulatory institutions such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, or the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC). Under these jurisdictions, retail traders receive protections such as negative balance protection and segregation of the client’s funds from the broker’s funds. These brokers must also be members of the relevant Investment Compensation Funds and to provide for a guarantee of up to EUR 20,000 of clients investment in the EU and 85,000 GBP in the UK, in case the broker goes bankrupt. The risk of this happening is also significantly reduced in the EU and the UK because of the requirement for brokers to maintain a net capital of at least EUR 730 000.
EARNMARKETS TRADING SOFTWARE
While most businesses of this type typically use limited web platforms, EarnMarkets actually offers one of the most popular platforms in the business – MetaTrader 4, with versions available for Windows, Android and iPhone. The platform supports expert advisor software and social trading option, in this case called Auto copy trading. Social trading is a service that allows you to automatically copy trades made by traders of your choice.
Here’s what the platform looks like:
EarnMarkets offers three types of accounts – Prime, Pro and Premium. Minimum deposits are $50, $100 and $500 respectively. Like the minimum deposit, the spreads offered are close to the standard for the industry – from 1.6 Pips for Prime account, from 1 for Pro and 0.3 for Premium. However, the listed leverage is far higher than allowed for regulated brokers – up to 1:400 for the Prime account and up to 1:200 for the other two. This is further evidence that there is no way this broker’s head office is really in London, because in that case leverage would not exceed the maximum level allowed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – 1:30 for major currency pairs and even less for more volatile assets.
EARNMARKETS DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
The company’s website lists as payment methods bank transfers through two Nigerian banks – Zenith bank and Stanbic IBTC, and also via GTBank, Paystack, and card transfer with Visa or Mastercard. This is a part of the site where the dubiousness is particularly apparent – the “deposit now” links lead nowhere, and the section stands unfinished with captions “Click edit to change this text”:
When you log in to the barely functional “Client Office”, things get even weirder – the only deposit options are “manual transfer” in Nigerian Naira through Zenith bank and Bitcoin. While bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general have their legitimate uses, scammers like them because they are not refundable, unlike the bank and credit card transfers. If you’re interested in legitimate brokers that accept Bitcoin, take a look at this list.
HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK
Unfortunately, for every licensed broker, there are dozens, if not hundreds of offshore registered and unregulated firms whose sole purpose is to scam gullible people. They recruit through attractive online ads, promising easy money for minimal effort. Once you have provided your details and they contact you, you fall into the hands of experienced scam artists, who confidently charm you until they con you out of real money in exchange for empty promises. Any attempts to recoup your initial deposit or additional investment will be blocked by confusing explanations and the catches written into the terms and conditions of the contract, such as hefty additional taxes and fees, amounting to 10% or 20% of your funds.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SCAMMED
The best chance to get at least some of your money back is to contact the bank or card company where the payment was made and ask for cashback. But there is no guarantee that your application will be approved, especially if you have provided your personal details like a copy of ID or proof of address to the scammers. It is important not to pay attention to offers from online companies to return your money in exchange for an upfront payment, because it is almost certain that they are also scammers.