Beware! Almahfaza 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.
Almahfaza presents itself as an online trading brokerage “specialising in currencies trading, and commodities, stocks, and indices in the form of CFDs”. The site is available in both English and Arabic, and it seems to be mainly oriented towards customers from the Arab world.
Although it claims to be UK-based, Almahfaza is in fact an offshore company that is not subject to any regulation and does not guarantee its clients’ funds in any way. Overall, this is a rather shady site that is best avoided.
ALMAHFAZA REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
On the website it is stated that Almahfaza.com is owned by Silver Success LP, which is “duly incorporated in the United Kingdom”. However, a closer look at the Terms and Conditions reveals that another company is behind this operation – ST Services Limited, headquartered in Marshall Islands.
The Marshall Islands are one of the most common bases for scammers posing as forex brokers. The reason for this is that there is no financial regulator in this country, so their activities are not supervised at all.
As might be expected, there is no licensed broker under the name Silver Success LP listed in the register of the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Upon registration, Almahfaza notes that for legal reasons it cannot provide services to clients in the United Arab Emirates. Attempts to register with data from countries in the EU, UK or North America have also resulted in a disclaimer stating that for legal reasons Almahfaza’s services are not available to clients from these jurisdictions. This also indicates that it cannot be a legitimate broker operating in the City of London.
On its website, Almahfaza claims that the client’s money are held in segregated accounts and the company cannot use them for business expenses, and that the clients are eligible for investor protection schemes. That would be true if Almahfaza was licensed in the United Kingdom or the European Union. But since there are no such requirements for an unregulated offshore company, it is safe to assume that these claims are untrue.
It is much more advisable to turn to one of the many companies that really work under the supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority. There are many advantages to working with an FCA regulated broker. Regulations in the UK include some important measures designed to improve investor protection and promote market integrity and transparency, such as transaction reporting. All FCA regulated brokers participate in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, and in case any of them goes bankrupt, clients can receive up to GBP 85,000 of their trading capital.
ALMAHFAZA TRADING SOFTWARE
Almahfaza uses a web trading platform that has all the basic functions for trading and chart customisations, but lacks the more advanced features found in the most widely used solutions in the industry. Here what it looks like:
Legitimate brokers usually offer their clients platforms such as MetaTrader 5 (MT5), that allow the use of Expert Advisor bots and other automated trading capabilities.
ALMAHFAZA TRADING CONDITIONS
Almahfaza offers five account types, with a minimum deposit of USD 500. Most regulated brokers offer more favorable terms for beginner traders, with the minimum deposit for a micro account usually around USD 100.
Almahfaza’s website does not provide information on basic trading metrics such as spread and leverage. Instead, there is a stated minimum trading volume, which is USD 1 000 for a Mini account, and ten times the minimum deposit for the other account types. There is no clarification for this indicator in the website or in the Terms and conditions.
It can be seen from the trading platform that the spread is set at about 0.4 pips. In theory, this is a very profitable level for the trader, but in practice it doesn’t mean much because Almahfaza is not a legitimate broker.
The platform also shows that the leverage is 1:400. While high leverage allows for high profits, it also carries increased risk. Most leading regulators therefore impose leverage limits on retailers. In the EU and the UK, this limit is 1:30 for major currency pairs and even lower for more volatile assets.
So this is another clue that Almahfaza cannot function as a broker in the UK. Another such clue is that Almahfaza promises its customers bonuses and promotions. This is also not allowed by the FCA and regulators in the EU and the US.
Almahfaza also offers remote assistance software. We strongly recommend that you do not install such applications on your devices because scammers often use them to gain access to their victims’ online banking details.
ALMAHFAZA DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
Almahfaza claims it accepts Visa, MasterCard, and bank wire transfers for payment methods. However, only the option to pay by Visa card is active in the deposit menu. Legitimate brokers usually offer multiple payment methods, including popular online platforms such as PayPal, Neteller or iDeal.
The minimum deposit in the client platform is set at USD 50. On the website the minimum withdrawal amount is stated as USD 25, but in the Terms and Conditions it is mentioned that the minimum withdrawal amount for wire transfers is USD 60.
The withdrawal of bonus money is tied to a minimum trading volume requirement of USD 1 000 000. There is also a USD 100 fee for dormant accounts, which is charged every 45 days.
HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK
The online space is full of ads promising easy money. They sound too good to be true, because they are not – they are outright scams. Many of these fraudsters pose as brokers and take advantage of the general public’s ignorance of the capital markets.
If you give your contact details to one of the flashy sites promising to make you rich, you will be contacted by experienced scammers who will start convincing you to “invest” in their scheme. Initially they will ask for a small amount, say USD 250 or USD 500. If you agree, they will begin to persuade you to give them larger sums.
However, your money will never be truly invested in the market, and you will not be able to receive either the supposed profits or the money from your deposit. Your attempts to withdraw your money will be blocked by deliberately confusing clauses in the terms and conditions. Some of the most commonly used traps are extremely high minimum trading volume requirements or withdrawal fees equal to 10%, 20% or more of your funds.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SCAMMED
It is very important not to rush into trusting people on the internet who offer to magically refund your money for a fee. These are also scammers, and they may even be the same ones who scammed you in the first place.
If you have made the transfers using credit or debit card, you can claim a cashback. Visa and MasterCard allow this to be done within 540 days. However, such a request may not be approved if you have given the fraudsters documents such as a copy of an ID and proof of address. This will allow them to claim that the transaction is legitimate and approved by both parties. Wire and cryptocurrency transfers unfortunately are not refundable.