Beware! BethleAsterFX 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.
BethleAsterFX claims to be a regulated broker with over 10 years of experience offering clients excellent trading conditions. However, this website is a prime example of why we should not accept such claims at face value. Fact checking shows that this is not a regulated broker at all, and the large amount of false and misleading information on the website is a clear indicator that this is in fact a scam scheme.
BETHLEASTERFX REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
When you open the website of a legitimate broker you can expect to see detailed information about the legal status of the company that owns it, in which jurisdictions it operates, what licenses it has and which regulatory institutions oversee its activities.
The BethleAsterFX website lacks any such information, which is the first and surest sign that this is not a legitimate business. The only legal documentation is the Terms of service, which are only available through the registration form. They mention only once the name of a company that in all likelihood does not exist – BethleAsterFX Limited.
The name of an existing company can only be found in the “About” menu of the trading platform, which can be downloaded after account registration:
This company, Bethle Aster Global investments Limited, is based in Hong Kong but is not a broker. To conduct brokerage business in this jurisdiction, a company must be licensed by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). However, the company cannot be found among the entities authorised by this regulator:
The only contact information that can be found on the BethleAsterFX website is an email and an incomplete address. An internet search reveals that this address is in Vanuatu, an offshore area with no significant regulations on brokerage activity.
The BethleAsterFX’s effort to hide which entity is behind the website and where it is based is a big enough red flag. This is not the regulated broker it portrays itself to be, and under no circumstances should you trust it with your money.
You should only trust legitimate brokers operating in one of the established financial centres like the UK, EU, USA or Australia. There, the activities of brokers are controlled by powerful regulatory bodies such as Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Australian Securities and Exchanges Commission (ASIC). Clients of these brokers receive protections such as negative balance protection and segregation of the client’s funds from the broker’s funds.
In the EU and the UK, brokers must also participate in guarantee schemes that cover a certain amount of the trader’s investment if the broker becomes insolvent. These guarantees amount to up to 20 000 EUR in the EU and 85 000 GBP in the UK. However, the likelihood of such a bankruptcy is low because regulators also have significant net capital requirements that companies must maintain – EUR 730 000 in UK and Cyprus, AUD 1000 000 in Australia and at least 20 million USD in the United States.
BETHLEASTERFX TRADING SOFTWARE
BethleAsterFX uses the industry’s most popular trading platform, MetaTrader 4 (MT4). However, this does not guarantee that BethleAsterFX offers real trading. Here’s what the software looks like:
There are more than enough licensed brokers offering clients the MT4 experience and/or the newer version of the software MT5. These platforms have established themselves as industry standard because they offer a wide range of features, including a variety of options for customization, multiple account usage, designing and implementing custom scripts for automated trading and backtesting trade strategies.
BETHLEASTERFX TRADING CONDITIONS
While some effort has been made to make the BethleAsterFX website look legitimate, at least at first glance, there are many contradictions that are immediately apparent. BethleAsterFX claims to offer two types of trading accounts, Standard and ECN. The description of the accounts states a minimum deposit of 100 USD, but on the main page of the website we see a different amount – 300 USD.
There are even more versions for the leverage offered- 1:400 or 1:500 according to the main page, 1:100 in the account descriptions, and you can choose levels up to 1:200 when registering an account. However, all the values mentioned differentiate BethleAsterFX from regulated brokers.
High leverage creates the opportunity for more significant profit, but correspondingly increases the risk of sudden and excessive losses. All leading regulators therefore restrict leverage for retail traders. The EU regulators limit leverage to 1:30 for trading in major currency pairs and even lower levels for more volatile assets. In the US, the maximum limit is slightly higher at 1:50.
The main page of the website promises a spread of 0.0 pips, but in the account descriptions we see levels of 1.3 pips for Standard and 0.8 pips for ECN. The latter also has a commision of 1 USD per round turn. However, the MT4 platform shows significantly higher levels of 2.5-3 pips. In the industry, levels above 2 pips are considered too high and disadvantageous to the trader.
These values hardly matter because scammers like the BethleAsterFX only mimic trading and do not make real transactions with the money entrusted to them. It would be much wiser to use the services of a properly licensed broker, most of which offer favorable terms for beginner traders, including micro accounts with a low minimum deposit.
BETHLEASTERFX DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
On its website, BethleAsterFX claims that it does not charge deposit and withdrawal fees and accepts multiple payment methods, including bank transfer, credit/debit cards, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, UnionPay and POLI.
However, after registering an account and logging into the customer portal, it becomes clear that this is also a lie. The only deposit option that BethleAsterFX provides is cryptocurrencies:
Scammers prefer cryptocurrencies because these transactions are not subject to refunds. If you are interested in licensed brokers that accept cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, take a look at this list.
The minimum amount the deposit menu accepts is the equivalent of 100 USD. Nowhere is there any information about withdrawal terms, so it’s unclear what kind of traps the scammers might have set.
HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK
Scammers who promise easy money without any effort are nothing new, especially on the internet. But given the excitement around bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in recent years, malicious actors have run rampant more than ever, capitalizing not only on people’s desire to solve their financial woes with a magic wand, but also ignorance and misunderstanding of how blockchain and complex financial instruments actually work.
If your curiosity is stirred by one of the many flashy websites promising easy riches, and you provide your contacts, you will soon be contacted by skillful and persuasive scammers who will convince you to start with a relatively small and “risk-free” investment. If you agree to this, you will be transferred to even more skilled at convincing scammers, who will persuade you to invest even more. Any money you give to such people is money you are unlikely to get back.
Any attempt to withdraw deposits or alleged profits will be hampered by numerous and significant fees, as well as harsh and often prohibitive conditions written into the terms and conditions – such as high trading volume requirements, unexpected “taxes”, or withdrawal fees as high as 10% or even 20% of your funds.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SCAMMED
When you find yourself scammed and seek advice and help online, you are likely to receive offers from individuals and companies who promise to refund your money for a fee that you have to pay in advance. Don’t trust such offers or recommendations from anonymous commentators on the internet – this is also a well established scam.
The best chance to get at least some of your money back is to request a chargeback, but this applies only if the transfer is made via credit card. It is of course advisable to notify the relevant authorities of the fraudsters’ activities and to spread the word online to warn other people who may fall victim to the same scammers.