Investing in Forex (Foreign Exchange)
A forex scam is any trading scheme used to defraud individual traders by convincing them that they can expect to profit by trading in the foreign exchange market. One such example of someone who has come under such scrutiny is James Dicks. These scams might include churning of customer accounts for the purpose of generating commissions, selling software that is supposed to guide the customer to large profits,improperly managed "managed accounts", false advertising, ponzi schemes and outright fraud . It also refers to any retail forex broker who indicates that trading foreign exchange is a low risk, high profit investment.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which loosely regulates the foreign exchange market in the United States, has noted an increase in the amount of unscrupulous activity in the non-bank foreign exchange industry.
An official of the National Futures Association was quoted as saying, "Retail forex trading has increased dramatically over the past few years. Unfortunately, the amount of forex fraud has also increased dramatically..." Between 2001 and 2006 the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has prosecuted more than 80 cases involving the defrauding of more than 23,000 customers who lost $300 million, mostly in managed accounts. CNN also quoted Godfried De Vidts, President of the Financial Markets Association, a European body, as saying, "Banks have a duty to protect their customers and they should make sure customers understand what they are doing. Now if people go online, on non-bank portals, how is this control being done?"
The highly technical nature of retail forex industry, the OTC nature of the market, and the loose regulation of the market, leaves retail speculators vulnerable. Defrauded traders and regulatory authorities, can find it very difficult to prove that market manipulation has occurred since there is no central currency market, but rather a number of more or less interconnected marketplaces provided by interbank market makers.
Always remember that there is no such thing as a "free lunch." Be especially cautious if you have acquired a large sum of cash recently and are looking for a safe investment vehicle. In particular, retirees with access to their retirement funds may be attractive targets for fraudulent operators. Getting your money back once it is gone can be difficult or impossible.
The following are examples of statements that either are or most likely are fraudulent:
The currency futures and options markets are volatile and contain substantial risks for unsophisticated customers. The currency futures and options markets are not the place to put any funds that you cannot afford to lose. For example, retirement funds should not be used for currency trading. You can lose most or all of those funds very quickly trading foreign currency futures or options contracts. Therefore, beware of companies that make the following types of statements:
- "Whether the market moves up or down, in the currency market you will make a profit."
- "We are out-performing 90% of domestic investments."
- "The main advantage of the forex markets is that there is no bear market."
Margin trading can make you responsible for losses that greatly exceed the dollar amount you deposited. Many currency traders ask customers to give them money, which they sometimes refer to as "margin," often sums in the range of $1,000 to $5,000. However, those amounts, which are relatively small in the currency markets, actually control far larger dollar amounts of trading, a fact that often is poorly explained to customers. Don't trade on margin unless you fully understand what you are doing and are prepared to accept losses that exceed the margin amounts you paid.
- "With a $10,000 deposit, the maximum you can lose is $200 to $250 per day."
- "We promise to recover any losses you have."
- "Your investment is secure."
Be wary of firms that claim that you can or should trade in the "interbank market," or that they will do so on your behalf. Unregulated, fraudulent currency trading firms often tell retail customers that their funds are traded in the "interbank market," where good prices can be obtained. Firms that trade currencies in the interbank market, however, are most likely to be banks, investment banks and large corporations, since the term "interbank market" refers simply to a loose network of currency transactions negotiated between financial institutions and other large companies.
Be especially alert to the dangers of trading on-line; it is very easy to transfer funds on-line, but often can be impossible to get a refund. It costs an Internet advertiser just pennies per day to reach a potential audience of millions of persons, and phony currency trading firms have seized upon the Internet as an inexpensive and effective way of reaching a large pool of potential customers.
Currency Scams Often Target Members of Ethnic Minorities
Some currency trading scams target potential customers in ethnic communities, particularly persons in the Russian, Chinese and Indian immigrant communities, through advertisements in ethnic newspapers and television "infomercials."
Sometimes those advertisements offer so-called "job opportunities" for "account executives" to trade foreign currencies. Be aware that "account executives" that are hired might be expected to use their own money for currency trading, as well as to recruit their family and friends to do likewise. What appears to be a promising job opportunity often is another way many of these companies lure customers into parting with their cash.
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