Beware! PrimeFirmTrade 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.
From the moment we open the PrimeFirmTrade website, we are given reasons to be suspicious. First we get an odd pop-up message warning us that deposits should only be made to the company’s bitcoin wallet, not to account managers. This would be strange even if we hadn’t come across other scam websites using the exact same message, for example UltimatePristineFxTrade.
The website then spews out constant pop-up messages with people’s names and amounts they have invested or withdrawn. These are of course fictitious individuals and fictitious amounts – public dissemination of such information would be in violation of any data privacy law.
The boasts that this unknown company operates in 134 countries and serves over 2 million customers are also an obvious lie. It is also telling that the PrimeFirmTradeclaims to offer cryptocurrency mining alongside forex trading – the two activities have nothing in common and no legitimate broker is involved in crypto mining.
So PrimeFirmTrade is obviously one of many scam websites trying to cash in on the excitement around Bitcoin and the lack of knowledge about financial markets among the general public. Closer examination of the facts confirms this assessment.
PRIMEFIRMTRADE REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
The website claims to be owned and operated by a company called PrimeFirmTrade LTD, based in Saint Petersburg, Florida.
The United States is one of the jurisdictions with the highest requirements for companies offering financial services. To operate as a forex broker there, a company must be registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and to be a member of the National Futures Association (NFA). As to be expected, there is no “PrimeFirmTrade” in NFA’s register:
However, the PrimeFirmTrade has attracted the attention of another regulator, the The Financial Markets Authority of New Zealand. The institution has issued a warning that the website is involved in scam:
If you intend to invest in the financial markets, you should beware of the many fake brokers lurking online. Trust only legitimate and duly licensed companies. Depending on your location, it is advisable to 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.
PRIMEFIRMTRADE TRADING SOFTWARE
The PrimeFirmTrade website promises an “ultimative trading platform” available for all types of devices. Nowhere does it state exactly which software is used. While they themselves are completely anonymous, registering for an account requires you to provide a copy of ID. Because of this, we were unable to create an account and verify whether this would give us access to trading software. Experience with scam websites sharing common elements with PrimeFirmTrade items indicates that in all likelihood there is no trading platform whatsoever.
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.
PRIMEFIRMTRADE TRADING CONDITIONS
The PrimeFirmTrade does not provide any specific information on the terms of the facilities it claims to offer. Nowhere does it specify basic forex trading parameters such as spread, leverage, available financial instruments.
Legitimate brokers offer different types of trading accounts tailored to the needs of clients with different capital, experience and investment intentions. On the PrimeFirmTrade website, we only find “investment packages” ranging from 500 USD to 10,000 USD. You should know that many genuine, regulated brokers allow you to start trading with amounts as low as 100 USD.
The description of the investment plans states only that they give access to copying expert traders. Copy trading, or social trading, is a service that allows you to copy the trades of an investor of your choice, thus drawing on their expertise and not having to devise your own trading strategies. With scammers like PrimeFirmTrade, however, it’s just a way of fooling you into thinking your money is really invested when in fact it’s not.
The brief Terms and Conditions state that the company is entitled to receive a fee for its services, but it is not specified how much this fee is.
PRIMEFIRMTRADE DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
The usual pattern of scammers is to claim to use conventional payment methods, but in practice to use only cryptocurrencies. PrimeFirmTrade directly states that it only accepts Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Scammers prefer cryptocurrencies because these transactions are not subject to refunds.
Legitimate brokers typically offer clients a wide choice of transparent payment methods, including bank transfer, credit/debit cards and established e-wallets such as PayPal, Skrill and Neteller. If you are interested in licensed brokers that accept cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, take a look at this list.
In its warning, the New Zealand regulator points out that the PrimeFirmTrade withholds investor funds and requires payment of a large sum to obtain a “withdrawal code”. This means that, as with all bogus brokers, if you make the mistake of “investing” money, you will never be able to withdraw it back.
HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK
The idea of passive income is increasingly attractive to more and more people. The Internet gives the impression that making money through investments in the financial markets is more accessible than ever to non-experts. But the online space is full of scammers who lure inexperienced wannabe traders through flashy advertisements and fake testimonials from satisfied clients. However, these fake brokers don’t really invest the money you give them – even though they very confidently assure you that you are generating great profits and should invest even more.
But when you try to withdraw some of your supposed winnings or deposit, it turns out to be impossible. Scammers will tell you that a sudden change in the market has wiped out all your money, or point you to vague clauses in the Terms and Conditions that require a huge minimum volume traded. The victim of such a scam may also be surprised with hidden fees and taxes amounting to tens of percentages of their funds.
Holding fraudsters accountable is difficult because they operate through offshore companies that are uncontrolled and unregulated. In addition, scammers require that you provide them with a copy of your ID and proof of address so that they can claim that all transactions were voluntary and agreed upon by both parties.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SCAMMED
First of all, you should know that there is another kind of scammers who prey on victims of fake brokers. They claim they can refund your money for an upfront fee. The most realistic option to get at least some of your money back is to request a chargeback, but this is only possible if you used a credit or debit card for the transactions. Scammers usually insist on using cryptocurrencies, direct bank transfers or shady online payment platforms where refunds are impossible.