Beware! Protonforex 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.
Protonforex tries to pass itself off as a regulated forex and CFD broker, “founded by a team of professionals with over a decade of experience in the trading field”. But if the people behind this website have a lot of experience at something, it’s probably scams.
Fact-checking quickly shows that the Protonforex is not a real broker at all, but a typical fraudulent scheme designed to take advantage of people with no knowledge of financial markets. At the time of writing this review, the Protonforex website lacks some basic functionality such as the ability to register an account. But the information available is more than enough to judge that it is in your best interest to avoid this website.
PROTONFOREX REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
Protonforex LLC is listed as the legal entity who owns the website. In the text of the Terms and Conditions, which refers only to the terms of loyalty awards, the name of the company is written as “Protonforex.com Ltd”. Such errors and inconsistencies are a clear indication that this is not a legitimate business.
Protonforex claims to be based in Birmingham, presumably UK, and to be “accredited by Financial Regulations Authorities”.
To offer brokerage services in the UK, a company must be licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, a Protonforex cannot be found on the regulator’s register:
In the footer of the website we see the statement that the Protonforex is authorized and supervised by the British Virgin Islands Foreign Exchange Commission. This offshore area is a completely separate jurisdiction from the UK, and registration there would not give the Protonforex the right to operate as a broker in the UK.
However, a check of the British Virgin Islands Foreign Exchange Commission database shows that the Protonforex is not registered there either. The Protonforex also claims to be licensed by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority in South Africa (FSCA) – which is also revealed as a lie when checking in the regulator’s register.
If you want to start trading in the financial markets, you should be careful not to fall into the clutches of the numerous scammers posing as brokers. You need to make sure you’re picking a legitimate broker who really operates from established financial hubs like the UK.
These brokers have to meet stringent requirements for financial stability and transparency of operations imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They must provide clients with negative balance protection and to participate in a guarantee fund that covers up to GBP 85,000 of a client’s investment should the broker go into insolvency. These brokers are also required to keep their clients’ money segregated from their own operating funds in separate bank accounts.
PROTONFOREX TRADING SOFTWARE
Various places on the Protonforex website mention different trading platforms – MetaTrader 4 or cTrader. However, nowhere are there links to download these platforms. The only software that can be downloaded from the website are remote access applications. Scammers often convince people inexperienced with technology to install such programs supposedly to help them with the difficult aspects of setting up an account and trading.
Our attempts to register a Protonforex account were unsuccessful. After registration, confirmation of the email address is requested, but the confirmation link is not active. This may be part of a fraudulent scheme to get people to install the aforementioned software to remotely access their computers.
Legitimate brokers offer clients a wide selection of trading software, including desktop, mobile apps and web-based platforms. The most widely used platforms in the industry are MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (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.
PROTONFOREX TRADING CONDITIONS
The Protonforex website describes seven types of trading accounts, with a minimum deposit starting at 100 USD. For the same amount or even less, you can open a starter account with many legitimate and regulated brokers.
All accounts are claimed to be swap free, but no spread information is available. Another section of the website mentions a spread of 0.9 pips for the EUR/USD currency pair. This would be a very competitive level if the Protonforex was offering real trading. But we have every reason to believe it does not.
The leverage specified for different account types ranges from 1:200 to 1:2000. This in itself proves that the Protonforex could not be a licensed broker based in the UK. The FCA, like EU regulators, limits leverage to 1:30 for trading in major currency pairs and even lower levels for more volatile assets. 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.
Another clue is that the Protonforex advertises bonuses and reward games. All leading regulators, including the FCA, prohibit brokers from using bonuses and promotions to attract customers.
PROTONFOREX DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
The Protonforex website claims to accept Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Skrill as payment methods. Due to our inability to register an account we have been unable to confirm whether these methods are indeed available. But with such fraudulent websites, the advertised payment methods usually differ from the ones actually available.
Protonforex claims that it does not charge fees when withdrawing funds. As noted, only information about loyalty rewards can be found in the text of the Terms and Conditions. It is therefore unclear what traps the fraudsters may have set.
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 chargeback. 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.