Beware! Keystone International Markets is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.

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Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Open trading accounts with at least two brokers.

 

The Keystone International Markets website tries to convince us that this is a trustworthy broker that provides transparent and advantageous trading conditions. But in our fact-checking, we could find no evidence that this is true. In this review, we’ll take a detailed look at why Keystone International Markets is questionable and why it’s advisable to invest through another broker.

KEYSTONE INTERNATIONAL MARKETS REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS

Legitimate forex brokers provide clear and detailed information about the legal entity that owns and operates them, where it is based, what licences it has and which regulators oversee its activities. Genuine brokers also provide access to a comprehensive set of legal documentation.

Lack of such details or improper presentation of them are always a red flag that we are probably dealing with a scam.

According to the homepage of the website, this forex broker is operated by Keystone International Markets Limited, a company based in Hong Kong.

However, it immediately catches our eye that the website lacks Terms and Conditions, Client Agreement or other legal documentation. Registering a new account requires agreeing to Terms of Use, but the link to this supposed document is blank.

A check of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) database confirms that Keystone International Markets is not among the authorised brokers.

We find no evidence that the Keystone International Markets Limited, actually exists. Unless you know exactly who you are dealing with and what terms you are agreeing to, it would not be wise to put your money on the line.

You should only trust legitimate brokers operating in one of the established financial centres like the UK, EU, USA or Australia. There, the activities of brokers are controlled by powerful regulatory bodies such as UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in US or Australian Securities and Exchanges Commission (ASIC). 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.

KEYSTONE INTERNATIONAL MARKETS TRADING SOFTWARE

Many of the fake brokers we have encountered use actual trading software to give themselves credibility. But this software is rigged, and the trading is fictitious. Your money is not being invested in financial instruments, but is sinking into the pockets of the fraudsters. We have every reason to believe that this is also the case with Keystone International Markets.

The website promises an advanced trading platform, and after registering an account, we do get access to one – MetaTrader 5. But Keystone International Markets did not provide credentials to log into its own trading server. Because of this, we were only able to test the functionality of the software with a Demo account.

It is advisable to contact one of the many legitimate brokers that offer MT5 or the still very popular MT4. These platforms have established themselves as leaders because they offer a wide range of features, including a wide variety of options for customization, multiple account usage, designing and implementing custom scripts for automated trading and backtesting trade strategies.

KEYSTONE INTERNATIONAL MARKETS TRADING CONDITIONS

Legitimate forex brokers offer a variety of trading account types tailored to the needs of clients with different capital and investment intentions. These brokers also provide clear and detailed information on trading parameters – leverage, spread, commissions, order execution method, etc.

We see only one account description on the Keystone International Markets website, which lacks information about tradable assets, base currency and order execution method.

The minimum deposit is 100 USD. For the same amount you could start using the services of a truly established broker. Many of the leading brands in the industry offer beginner traders Micro and Cent accounts with a very low minimum deposit.

Keystone International Markets claims to offer leverage up to 1:100. This is not a level that you see with regulated brokers. Trading with high leverage allows higher profits, but also increases the risk of sudden and excessive losses proportionally. All leading regulators limit leverage for retail traders. In the EU, UK and Australia the maximum permitted level is 1:30 and in the US it is 1:50. This maximum level only applies to trading major currency pairs, with even more limited leverage 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.

In the trading platform we see a spread of about 1 pip, which in theory is a competitive level. But as noted, we have no reason to believe this trade is real. We also don’t know if there are hidden commissions and other traps.

KEYSTONE INTERNATIONAL MARKETS DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES

The homepage of the website claims that multiple payment methods are available, including credit cards, Skrill and UnionPay.

But in the deposit menu itself, the choice is between cryptocurrencies and transfer to a private bank account:

This definitively convinces us that we’re dealing with scammers. Both options do not allow a refund or chargeback to be requested.

Since Keystone International Markets does not provide proper legal documentation, it is unclear what traps the fraudsters may have set. Typically, fake brokers make withdrawing money impossible through huge fees and impossible-to-fulfil traded volume conditions.

HOW DOES THE SCAM WORKS

The online space is full of ads promising easy money. They sound too good to be true, because they are not – they are outright scams. Many of these fraudsters pose as brokers and take advantage of the general public’s ignorance of the capital markets.

If you give your contact details to one of the flashy sites promising to make you rich, you will be contacted by experienced scammers who will start convincing you to “invest” in their scheme. Initially they will ask for a small amount, say USD 250 or USD 500. If you agree, they will begin to persuade you to give them larger sums.

However, your money will never be truly invested in the market, and you will not be able to receive either the supposed profits or the money from your deposit. Your attempts to withdraw your money will be blocked by deliberately confusing clauses in the terms and conditions.  Some of the most commonly used traps are extremely high minimum trading volume requirements or withdrawal fees equal to 10%, 20% or more of your funds.

WHAT TO DO WHEN SCAMMED

It is very important not to rush into trusting people on the internet who offer to magically refund your money for a fee. These are also scammers, and they may even be the same ones who scammed you in the first place.

If you have made the transfers using credit or debit card, you can claim a chargeback. Visa and MasterCard allow this to be done within 540 days. However, such a request may not be approved if you have given the fraudsters documents such as a copy of an ID and proof of address. This will allow them to claim that the transaction is legitimate and approved by both parties. Wire and cryptocurrency transfers unfortunately are not refundable.

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