Beware! BWSTOCKS 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.
On the BWSTOCKS website we see claims that this is “an international brokerage company offering a full range of online trading services” in currencies, commodities and crypto. But BWSTOCKS does not give us good reasons to believe these claims – the website is very poorly constructed and lacks the information and functionality one would expect from a real broker. It doesn’t take very deep looking to reveal that this is a scam trying to fool people with no experience in the financial markets.
BWSTOCKS REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
Regulated brokers are required to meet a number of strict requirements, including transparency regarding their legal status. We cannot even find a company name on the BWSTOCKS website. The people behind BWSTOCKS are completely anonymous, which is reason enough not to trust them with your money.
The website also lacks the mandatory disclaimer on the risks of trading financial instruments. There is also no legal documentation of any kind, with the exception of Terms and Conditions, which consist of only a few paragraphs.
The only contact information is an email and an obviously fake address in the United States:
The US is the jurisdiction with probably the highest requirements for brokerage firms. To operate there, a broker must be registered as a futures commission merchant and foreign exchange dealer with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and to be a member of the National Futures Association (NFA). We were not at all surprised to find nothing about “BWSTOCKS” in the NFA database:
If you plan to invest in cryptocurrencies or other financial instruments, you should only use the services of licensed and regulated brokers. Depending on your location, you could choose a company that is regulated by an institution such as Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in US, Australian Securities and Exchanges Commission (ASIC), UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or some EU regulator like Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
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.
BWSTOCKS TRADING SOFTWARE
While it claims to offer trading and even training on technical indicators and analytics, BWSTOCKS does not have a trading platform where these indicators can be applied. The only functionality we get after registering an account is to send money to BWSTOCKS.
The scammers behind this website are clearly targeting people who have no idea how the financial markets work. 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.
BWSTOCKS TRADING CONDITIONS
When you open a real broker’s website, you can expect to find detailed information about trading conditions, including different account types tailored to the needs of traders with different experience and capital, as well as details about leverage, spreads, swaps, commissions, etc.
In this respect, the BWSTOCKS stops even pretending to offer trading at all. Instead of trading accounts, various “investment plans” are offered, presented as deposits with impossibly high daily returns. This definitively exposes the BWSTOCKS as a low-effort scam.
These “investment plans” have a minimum deposit of 20 USD. We must reiterate that it would be much wiser to approach a licensed broker, many of whom offer starter accounts with a minimum deposit of less than 100 USD.
The BWSTOCKS website also highlights a referral program that promises to get bonuses if you attract other people to the scheme. Regulated brokers are prohibited from using bonuses, promotions and games with prizes.
BWSTOCKS DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
In the BWSTOCKS deposit menu we see three options – Bitcoin, bank transfer and something called “Mobile Money”.
Only the first option allows you to proceed with the payment. If you select either of the other two you get a message that the deposit needs to be approved by an administrator. This is typical of scam sites – to advertise different methods of scaremongering, but in practice only use cryptocurrencies. Scammers prefer cryptocurrencies because these transactions are not subject to refunds. While there are some legitimate brokers that accept Bitcoin, they do so alongside other transparent payment methods such as credit/debit card, bank transfer or popular e-wallets like PayPal, Sofort or Neteller.
The laconic Terms and Conditions do not contain any information about fees and deposit and withdrawal requirements. In the FAQ section, a minimum withdrawal amount of 30 USD is indicated. But from everything I’ve seen on this website, it’s pretty clear that if you make the mistake of depositing money there, you’ll never be able to withdraw it.
HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK
Trading in financial instruments is a risky business even for experienced investors using the services of reliable brokers. For newcomers, there is also the risk of being deceived by the many scam websites posing as brokerages. These websites are operated by skilled and cunning scammers who lure you with promises of easy profits. Usually these scammers promise to take care of all the bits and pieces of investment for you, but many even use real trading platforms to fool you that your money is really being invested. After investing an initial low amount, they will convince you that you are already making incredible profits and urge you to invest more.
But your money is not invested and you will never see the promised returns. When you ask to withdraw even a portion of your money, you will be surprised by impossible to meet minimum trading volume requirements and hidden fees that amount to tens of percentages of your funds. Scammers hide behind fake names and offshore companies that are uncontrolled and unregulated, so it will be impossible to hold them accountable.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SCAMMED
If you find yourself in a similar situation, you can request a chargeback. However, this option is only possible if you have used a credit or debit card for the transactions. Visa and MasterCard allow this to be done within 540 days. But if you have provided the scammers with proof of identity, such as an ID or proof of address, these claims can be disputed. Bank wire transfer or cryptocurrency transactions are non-refundable.
In any case, you should inform the relevant authorities in your country about the activities of the scammers and warn other potential victims online. You should not trust offers to return your money for an upfront fee. This is also a known scam and all testimonials from satisfied customers are fake.