Beware! Afexmarket 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.
Afexmarket, or AFEX Market, tries to convince us that it is an award-winning forex broker that we can confidently trust with our investments. But fact-checking reveals that this is yet another reincarnation of a familiar fraudulent scheme. Let’s look at the evidence that this is not a legitimate financial services provider and we should stay away.
AFEXMARKET REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
The most important information about a financial services provider is its regulatory status. Licensed brokers provide detailed information about which company runs them, where it is based, which jurisdictions it is authorised in and which regulatory bodies oversee its activities. Licensed companies are also required to provide a comprehensive set of legal documentation.
There is no indication on the Afexmarket website who is behind this alleged broker. Registering an account requires agreeing to Terms and Conditions and a whole host of other legal documents, but the links are blank.
The same company is listed as the owner of two other fake brokers that we have reviewed – SwissFXM and WalkCrypto. The three websites are almost identical, leading us to believe they are the work of the same scammers.
Afexmarket provides a contact address in the United Kingdom. In order to operate as a forex broker in this jurisdiction, a company must hold the appropriate licences from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). But Yourt North Ltd is not listed among the companies authorised by the regulator. No licensed broker using the Afexmarket trade name and domain can be found in the database.
There is a company called Yourt North Ltd on the UK General Register of Companies, but it is not an authorised broker – its activity is classified as “computer facilities management activities”.
Before investing your money in financial instruments, it is imperative to make sure you do so through a licensed intermediary and not one of the many scammers lurking online.
Under no circumstances should you trust your money to such anonymous websites full of false and contradictory information. Instead, you can turn to one of the many companies that really work under the supervision of respected regulatory bodies like 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.
AFEXMARKET TRADING SOFTWARE
The Afexmarket website claims to offer the industry standard trading platform MetaTrader 4 (MT4). But after registering an account it becomes clear that this is not true. Afexmarket only has a basic web-based platform. At the time of writing this review, the software was not functioning properly and was not displaying a chart with asset price movements.
It should be noted that 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 use rigged trading software to fool their victims that their money is being invested.
There are more than enough licensed brokers offering clients the MT4 experience and/or the newer version of the software 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.
AFEXMARKET TRADING CONDITIONS
On the Afexmarket website we see a description of three types of trading accounts. As stated, scammers of the Afexmarket type do not offer real, but fictitious trading. Therefore, there is no real significance as to whether the trading terms described are profitable. But the parameters outlined on the website provide us with some additional evidence of the fraudulent nature of Afexmarket.
The most obvious such evidence is the stated leverage of up to 1:500. 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 FCA, like EU regulators, limits leverage to 1:30 for trading in major currency pairs and even lower levels for more volatile assets.
Regulated brokers offer higher leverage only to professional clients who must meet very high standards for capital and experience and forgo the guarantees enjoyed by retail traders.
If you don’t qualify as a professional trader but are willing to take the risk of high-leverage trading, the most viable option is to use the services of an offshore affiliate of an established brand.
Afexmarket also claims to offer unspecified promotions. Like most financial regulators, the FCA prohibits brokers from offering bonuses and promotions.
The minimum deposit required is 250 EUR. For the same or often lower amount you could open a starter account with almost any licensed broker.
AFEXMARKET DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
At the time of writing this review, there were no active payment methods on Afexmarket’s deposit menu. But links to purchase cryptocurrencies can be seen on the website.
This leads us to believe that, like most financial scammers, Afexmarket directs its potential victims to cryptocurrency transactions.
Cryptocurrencies are the payment method of choice for most financial scammers. The reason for this is that on the one hand cryptocurrencies provide a degree of anonymity and on the other hand they do not allow the defrauded person to ask for a refund.
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 Skrill, PayPal, Neteller or QIWI.
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 WORKS
Scammers who promise easy money without any effort are nothing new, especially on the internet. But given the excitement around bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in recent years, malicious actors have run rampant more than ever, capitalizing not only on people’s desire to solve their financial woes with a magic wand, but also ignorance and misunderstanding of how blockchain and complex financial instruments actually work.
If your curiosity is stirred by one of the many flashy websites promising easy riches, and you provide your contacts, you will soon be contacted by skillful and persuasive scammers who will convince you to start with a relatively small and “risk-free” investment. If you agree to this, you will be transferred to even more skilled at convincing scammers, who will persuade you to invest even more. Any money you give to such people is money you are unlikely to get back.
Any attempt to withdraw deposits or alleged profits will be hampered by numerous and significant fees, as well as harsh and often prohibitive conditions written into the terms and conditions – such as high trading volume requirements, unexpected “taxes”, or withdrawal fees as high as 10% or even 20% of your funds.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SCAMMED
Recovering money you have given to fraudsters is difficult and often impossible. Fraudsters always want you to provide them with documents such as a copy of your ID and proof of address so that they can claim that it is a legitimate transaction, agreed voluntarily between both parties. If the transaction is made by credit or debit card, you can request a cashback and hope for the best, but transactions via wire transfer or cryptocurrencies are not refundable. It is important not to trust online offers from people who offer to recover your money in exchange for an upfront payment, because this is also a well-known scam.