Beware! GPSwiss 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.
If the boast-filled website of GPSwiss is to be believed, this is the best forex and CFD broker in the world. But one thing we have learned from experience is that we should not accept such statements at face value. Fact checking shows that our skepticism is justified – GPSwiss is yet another fake forex broker run by an unregulated offshore company that seeks to scam inexperienced people out of their money.
GPSWISS REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
It is not easy to figure out who is behind GPSwiss, which in itself can serve as an argument that it is not a legitimate broker. Licensed financial services providers are obliged to provide clear information about which company is running the operations, where it is based and which regulators oversee its activities. We don’t see a company name or even an address on the GPSwiss website.
It is only at the end of the Terms and Conditions that the name of a legal entity, GP SWISS LTD, is given, which is stated to be based in the Marshall Islands.
This offshore zone is a favorite base for scammers because there isn’t even a financial regulator, and incorporating an International Business Company can be done entirely online.
However, in the same Terms and Conditions we also see a statement that the governing law is that of the United Kingdom. This cannot be true – an offshore company cannot operate as a broker in a highly regulated jurisdiction such as the UK.
For this purpose, the broker must be authorized by the local Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, the regulator’s database does not list GP SWISS LTD or GPSwiss.
Obviously the GPSwiss is not only not regulated, but is trying to deceive us. If you want to trade on financial markets without being scammed, you can turn to some of the legitimate brokers that actually operate from established financial hubs like the UK. These brokers have to meet stringent requirements for financial stability and transparency of operations imposed by the 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.
GPSWISS TRADING SOFTWARE
In line with the other bombastic claims on the website, GPSwiss promises “The ULTIMATE Forex trading platform”. But registering for an account only gives us access to a rudimentary web-based platform, as we have seen with many similar fishy websites. Fraudsters use trading software to fool their victims into thinking that their money is really being invested.
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.
GPSWISS TRADING CONDITIONS
GPSwiss provides very confusing information on what the minimum deposit is. In the description of the Basic Account an amount of 500 EUR is indicated. But in the same place on the website we see a statement that the minimum is 250 EUR, but GPSwiss recommends us to start with a much larger investment of 5000 EUR. Even if this was an otherwise legitimate broker, these terms are not competitive at all. Most leading brands in the industry allow you to start trading with far lower amounts, often under 50 USD or EUR.
The only other specific parameter detailed in the account type descriptions is a leverage between 1:200 and 1:500. This may also serve as circumstantial evidence that GPSwiss could not really operate 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. GPSwiss also allegedly offered bonuses, a practice prohibited to regulated brokers.
On the GPSwiss website we also see promises of a variable spread from 0.1 pips, but in the trading platform such spreads are only set for a Demo account. When using a live account we see a spread of over 2 pips, which is almost double the industry average. Therefore, even if GPSwiss offered real trading, it would be unprofitable for the trader.
GPSWISS DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
The home page of the website claims that the available payment methods are wire transfer and credit/debit cards. But in the deposit menu itself, the choice is between Hong Kong-based electronic payment provider PerfectMoney and cryptocurrency platform Plus Exchange.
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, Neteller or Skrill.
The Terms and Conditions specify a minimum withdrawal amount of 50 USD, but we doubt that it is even possible to withdraw money from GPSwiss. Scammers leave themselves many loopholes to deny withdrawal requests. According to the provisions in the Terms and Conditions, trading profits are not considered client money and are not withdrawable by default. And if the account has received a bonus, the withdrawal of funds becomes conditional on meeting high minimum trading volume requirements – 30 times the deposit amount plus the bonus.
Another predatory clause states that if the account has been inactive for six months, GPSwiss charges 10% of the balance per month.
HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK
While browsing the interwebs there is a significant chance you will come across comments, videos, social media pages that promise easy ways to passively make money. If you follow the links you will be taken to websites claiming to be legitimate brokers or investment firms. And if you take the next step and make contact with the people behind these websites, you will be contacted by slick and experienced scammers who will lure you in with promises of easy profits. For a while they will convince you that your investment is generating impressive returns and you need to pour in even more money to make sure you don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity.
However, the attitude towards you will be changed if you want to withdraw your money. Suddenly, it will turn out that your investment makes losses and you even owe money to the fake broker for unexpected fees and expenses. They will show you clauses hidden in the Terms and Conditions, according to which you can only withdraw money after you have traded an impossible minimum volume, or that you will have to pay withdrawal fees of 20%, 30% or even more. When you try to hold them accountable you will find they are using fake names and shell companies in shady offshore jurisdictions without any regulatory oversight.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SCAMMED
Your options to recover your money are limited. If credit/debit cards were used for the transactions, you have the possibility to request a chargeback. But most scammers insist that you send them proof of identity and address with which they can dispute that the transactions were legitimate. Fraudsters also predominantly use cryptocurrencies, where refunds are impossible.
You should also be aware that there are many scammers who offer to recover your money for an upfront fee. You should not trust such offers. It is better to contact the relevant authorities in your country and warn them about the activities of the scammers.