Beware! FTM-Invest 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.
FTM-Invest is a fairly typical example of an online scam targeting people who are looking for passive income but lack the necessary experience and knowledge of financial markets. In this review, we will take a detailed look at the clues that FTM-Invest is not the legitimate forex and CFD broker it claims to be.
FTM-INVEST REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
If a financial services provider is legitimate, you will find on its website clear and detailed information about the company that owns and operates it, where it is based, and what licences it has. Genuine brokers also provide access to a comprehensive set of legal documentation. The availability of such information does not guarantee that it is not false or misleading. But the absence of these elements is very indicative that in all likelihood you are dealing with scammers.
It is a complete mystery who is behind FTM-Invest. The website does not name an owning company nor provide access to any documents. Without knowing who we are dealing with and what the terms of the deal are, it would be very unwise to put our money on the line.
The FTM-Invest website is primarily available in Russian and is obviously aimed at Russian speakers. But the contact address given is in Sweden.
Such an anonymous website could not legally provide brokerage services in a regulated jurisdiction such as Sweden. A check of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) database confirms that there is no authorised broker using the FTM-Invest trade name or domain.
If you intend to invest in financial instruments, you should beware of the many fake brokers lurking online. Always check carefully whether the broker you choose really has the necessary licences. There are numerous benefits to working with a company that is truly authorised and supervised by a regulatory institution such as the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) or Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
As their customer you will enjoy a number of guarantees including negative balance protection and guarantee for your funds if the broker goes bankrupt, which goes up to EUR 20,000 in EU and 85,000 GBP in the UK. Regulations in the UK and EU include some important measures designed to improve investor protection and promote market integrity and transparency, such as transaction reporting. Regulated brokers are also required to segregate their operational funds from the client’s money.
FTM-INVEST TRADING SOFTWARE
After registering an account with FTM-Invest, we gain access to a web-based trading platform. Here is how it looks like:
While the platform has the basic features for placing orders, customising charts and application of technical indicators, it lacks the more advanced functionality found in the most widely used trading platforms in the industry, 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.
The presence of a trading platform does not make this website any more legitimate and does not guarantee that this alleged broker offers real trading. Many scammers have trading software to fool their victims that their money is being invested.
FTM-INVEST TRADING CONDITIONS
Although it presents itself as a forex and CFD broker and has trading software, FTM-Invest does not offer trading accounts, but fixed-term investment plans. This apparent contradiction shows that FTM-Invest is a scam aimed at people with no experience who do not know what to expect from a genuine forex broker.
The information on the minimum investment amount is also contradictory – 25 USD or 5000 USD.
A much safer and sensible choice is to use the services of a licensed broker. Many of the leading companies in the industry allow you to open a starter account with a very low minimum deposit of 50-100 USD or even less.
The trading platform has a leverage of 1:400. This is further evidence that FTM-Invest could not really be a licensed broker operating in a member state of the European Union.
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 European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and accordingly all EU regulators limit leverage to 1:30 for major currency pairs, 1:20 for non-major pairs, gold and major indices, 1:10 for other commodities and non-major indices, and 1:2 for cryptocurrencies.
FTM-INVEST DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
At the time of writing this review, the FTM-Invest deposit menu was not active. We were therefore unable to ascertain what payment methods are available.
Experience with scams of this type has shown that fraudsters direct their potential victims to payment methods that do not allow refunds or chargebacks, most commonly cryptocurrencies. While there are some legitimate brokers that accept digital currencies like 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 lack of a publicly available Terms and Conditions or Client Agreement means that scammers may have set many traps such as hidden fees and impossible-to-meet withdrawal terms.
HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK
Many people are looking for ways to make money passively, but do not have the necessary knowledge to invest in the financial markets themselves. This makes them a target for the many online scammers posing as brokers. If you come across some of them and give them your contacts, you will be contacted by skilled scam artists who will assure you that they can take on the incomprehensible aspects of investing for you. You will only be required to invest and take profits.
But when you try to collect even just a fraction of your money, it will turn out to be impossible. Your supposed profits will suddenly evaporate, or you’ll find that you have to meet impossible traded volume requirements first. Fraudsters often insert huge withdrawal fees into client agreements amounting to 10%, 20% or even more. You won’t be able to hold scammers accountable because they hide behind fake names and shell-companies offshore. Scammers also typically use non-refundable payment methods.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SCAMMED
First of all, you should be very careful not to fall straight into the clutches of other scammers. Another common scam is to promise money recoveries from fake brokers for an upfront fee.
If you used a credit or debit card for the transactions, you can charge a chargeback. Visa and MasterCard have a long period in which they allow such requests – 540 days. But keep in mind that fraudsters can dispute if you have provided them with a copy of your ID and proof of address. It would also be helpful if you alerted the authorities in your country and other people online to the activities of the scammers.