Tag Archives: trading

FTOCapital.com Scam

I received a call today from 03 9077 1873 claiming to be from  Financials Trading Online with a pitch exactly the same as HQ BrokersI’m not sure if H Q Brokers have pivoted to a new name or a different scammer driving this call. It’s a different scammer from H Q Brokers.

It was obviously a Filipino boiler shop, but they claimed to be located in London. The caller stuck to the script like glue. I could trade “forex, commodities, stocks like Apple and Coke and even bitcoin.” Every interruption saw him back up to the top of the paragraph and continue reading like nothing happened.

I asked how they got my details and he said:

Surfing the internet you get popups for bitcoin or forex. You’ve seen them right? Well you accidentally click on them and we have your name, email and phone number.

Now I don’t accidentally click on popups or pop-unders because my browser is locked up so tight that I never see that stuff anymore. So that’s a lie but I don’t doubt they actively remarket and retarget anyone with investing interests (hello Facebook and Google). I also think they’ve got the BitCoinTalk forum user database and other hacked forums’ user-lists and cross-referenced emails to phone numbers. Plus a bot could do Facebook phone number lookups until two weeks ago to match numbers to names.

FTO Capital’s script really focuses on confirming past trading experience. I think this is supposed to get me nodding in agreement with what they are saying as well as reinforce their expertise (?) as a trading platform. I could open an account with a deposit of $200USD. Aha! Now I see the reward the boiler-room is working for.

Their website is at FTOCapital[dot]com and they try to get you to create an account and make an opening deposit straight away.

Asking about regulatory compliance and licensing, I was quickly escalated to the Senior Account Manager Dale Davis. Dale promised me that my very own Senior Account Manager would teach me how to trade using their MetaTrader 4 platform to trade forex, commodities, stocks and even bitcoin.

But Dale is a Senior Account Manager right, why do I need another? It turns out Dale is only for onboarding new accounts. What sort of things will I learn at FTO Capital from my personal Senior Account Manager? I’d learn “How to read price and signals”.  Really?!?!

By now I was bored, but I persevered for you, dear reader.

I asked Dale, If I have a trading account why would I change to FTOCapital? He says I “May want to give it a shot”, which is the most low-pressure answer I’ve ever heard in a high-pressure sales call.

Back to basics. Are they regulated, and in what jurisdictions?  Dale says FTO Capital are physically located in London, operating in Australia & New Zealand for two years, South Africa longer, some Asian and some European countries too.

That didn’t answer my regulation question. Dale said Financials Trading Online are regulated in Canada, USA, France and Cyprus. And despite being located in London, FTO Capital is not regulated in the UK. In what jurisdictions is FTOCapital actually licensed? Dale said he’ll send all that info to my email address right now, put me on hold and 60 seconds later the call dropped out.

I didn’t believe any of that for a second but I wasn’t challenging anything FTO claimed on this call. Normally if I have the time to string these guys along I play hardball. Today I played coy for 19 minutes so they weren’t trying to scam someone else.

FTO Capital are listed on ASIC’s MoneySmart website. ASIC advises this company could be involved in a scam. Do not deal with this business as it is unlicensed in Australia.

The FTOCapital website mentions other company and brand names

  • Nona Marketing Ltd,
  • Financials Trading Online, and
  • Albius Ltd.

Red Flags from the website:

  • All references to companies and brands are pictures of text facilitating the easy swapping out of corporate entities and making it hard for search engines to link the context of the text.
  • The privacy policy does not name the company it applies to merely (“The Company”) hereafter the “Company”,
  • Terms & Conditions does not name the company or incorporation jurisdiction. It  merely states The Company is a brand owned and operated by(“The Company”) incorporated in the; and it peters out there.
  • Anti Money Laundering (AML) policy of for Nona Marketing Ltd with no reference to brands, subsidiaries or related entities. It is also a generic cut and paste AML that offers broad responsibilities of “the board” and “senior staff”

Addresses for this group are

  • Nona Marketing Ltd Ajeltake Road, Ajeltake Island, Majuro, Republic of  Marshall Islands
  • Albius Ltd, 53-55 Totlben Blvd. Sophia, Bulgaria
  • 4th Floor, Holden House, 57 Rathbone Place, WIT IJU, London UK
  • Lincoln House 296-302 High Holborn WC1V 7JH, UK

Phone numbers

+44 208 068 2565

Share your experiences in the comments below.

Update: 13 June 2018

As police raid Israeli-operated boiler rooms in Asia and Eastern Europe, local law enforcement has yet to indict a single operative from an industry that has stolen billions.  – https://www.timesofisrael.com/israelis-nabbed-in-philippines-are-tip-of-iceberg-in-alleged-fraud-gone-global/

There are international news reports that Philippine Anti-Cybercrime Group raided the offices of IBD Marketing on 6 June 2018 arresting 8 Israeli citizens and 474 Filipinos. According to Philippine police, IBD Marketing operated as a call centre on behalf  FTOCapital.com. Hopefully that puts an end to this particular scam, but it seems the scourge of Israeli-citizen operated boiler rooms continues.

HQBroker.com scam

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): HQ Brokers is a scam. Even ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) thinks so.

I just got a cold call from +44 22 0296 9287 claiming to be from HQBroker. They claimed to allow trading in “international markets” including “the big four – Stocks, Currencies, Commodities and Indexes”. I asked on which exchanges can I trade and they seemed to be confused by that question. NYSE, ASX, NASDAQ, LSE who knows.

They claimed that 20% of their clients were in Australia. More on that later.

They claim they are “regulated” and “licensed” but when I challenged that claim they started naming large American financial institutions that provide “liquidity guarantees” to them. Their website states they are licensed in Poland [updated 4 June 2018]. Without an Australian Financial Services (AFS) Licence, I pointed out that they were making an illegal brokering solicitation in Australia. They said that opening an Australian office is difficult but that as soon as they have 1000 active traders they will do it.

Aside: If 20% of their clients is less than 1000 traders then they have less than 5000 clients, right?

The “securities manager” I was now talking to said they were a large “international company” trading in “international markets”, surely their IP address would be blocked if they were not regulated and licensed in Australia. I pointed out that Australia currently only blocks piracy sites.

While unlicensed, cold-call, broking solicitation is illegal in Australia, that wasn’t where it got really scary.

The zinger? HQBroker offered “software with 100% successful record that monitors the market 20 times a second, 5 days a week, 24 hours a day”. Even forex markets are closed once the New York market closes on Friday afternoon (local time) until Sydney opens on Monday morning (local time). In reality that means there is about a day and a half that we can’t trade retail forex. Interbank forex is manned 24/7 but retail investors can’t access that market.

I honed in on that 100% success claim. Nobody (and no AI) hits on every trade, some trades just don’t pay off. But they wouldn’t budge, they proudly said “risk free”, then “money back guarantee” if I tried their three day trial on a $250USD account opening deposit. After 3 days I could withdraw my original deposit and any gains-if there were any losses they’d refund the deposit in full.

This mysterious software not only gives trade signals but actually opens and closes trades on their international markets. It uses “mathematical models” to automatically trade for you.

Again, I expressed my skepticism at the 100% successful trade claim. “Impossible!” I exclaimed. The system has “automatic stop loss and take profit”. Stop loss? Aha! So losses are possible. “No,” he said, “because trading pairs move in sync like USD/Gold. When one is falling the other is rising.” So now HQBroker is back to pitching binary options trading as fool-proof, no-risk, guaranteed triple-digit-percentage returns.

At that point I’d finished my lunch and wanted to get back to working so I hung up, I’d wasted 48 minutes of their time while eating my lunch. A pleasant distraction.

A quick google search will show HQBroker is very poorly reviewed, with it’s corporate structure best described as “murky”.

Update: 4 April 2018 10:24 AEST: The comments section is getting some traction so I’ll leave it as a bit of a free-for-all for now. There is rudimentary anti-spam checking but that’s it. I cannot confirm identity of any or all commentators below.

Remember: On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

Update: 10 May 2018 Got a call with the exact same MO today from 03 9077 1873 but this time promoting Financials Trading Online which is listed as a scam on ASIC’s MoneySmart website. Either H Q Brokers are moving on or it’s a variation on the same scam.

Big update: 4 June 2018

[1]  Capzone Ltd (and A.K.A Hokkaido Investments Sp) is now listed on ASIC’s MoneySmart website, with the Marshall Island’s address but HQBroker email and website. Those links open MoneySmart’s website.

[2] The company behind HQBroker is Capzone Ltd originally listed as in the Marshall Islands and/or Poland, now claiming to be in Hong Kong. So they’ve started the shell game of changing structures. They give Capzone Ltd  “operational address” as 7/F, Low Block, Grand Millennium Plaza, 181 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong. No registered office or other legal domicile.

[3] The digital marketing and spin doctoring has begun:

  1. They brag about a “3 star” review on FXEmpire with a self-created award wreath but don’t link to it. I’ve linked to it and add your review to let people know.
  2.  They brag about a “3 star Premium Quality” at Finance Magnates with a self-created seal. But Finance Magnates don’t provide reviews. They only have a “directory listing” called a review and the “contact us directly” form goes straight to HQBrokers. People could report the listing to Finance Magnates using the form on the home page.
  3. Digital Marketing Services are provided by Pure Marketing Corp Ltd (I can’t find them yet).
  4. Their website now has instant message chat.

[4] H Q Brokers now does not offer services in USA, France and Hong Kong. Further evidence of avoiding prosecution at “home” and in aggressive jurisdiction that will prosecute foreign companies without a presence in those jurisdictions.

Update 21 June 2018

We received an Official letter from HQBroker and an Official Letter from BSD Administration. Check them out and let me know what you think on those posts.

There are also 2 comments pending with glowing reviews but fake email addresses and fake IP addresses. I’m waiting for the authors to confirm their email addresses before approving the comments. They still haven’t confirmed.

Update 27 June 2018

BSD Trade Services is possibly reduced its work due to recent police raids on similar BPO’s, but their sibling organisation GWU Marketing Corp has picked up the slack and is operating out of Clark CFEZ Philippines. Specific commentary on GWU and BSD will be on their linked posts. Please post any news about GWU or BSD there.

Update 3 July 2018

After the BSD & GWU updates with photos of key staff on Thursday, the server was attacked with 108,954 visitors over 4 days. That’s 1000 viewers per hour! Not really that much traffic and the server hummed along. You can see the analytics of the attack here https://bitly.com/2lHeI0c+

Emotional Control for Success When Trading Currencies

Forex Foreign Exchange Rate
Stranger in a Strange Land, photo by A Syed, Midland, MI, United States

Guest contribution provided by Forex Traders

For many investors, learning the intricacies of investing is a continuing effort that focuses on expanding personal knowledge of the principles involved and on gaining experience at the craft. Unfortunately, many of these individuals tend to be unaware or just plain forget that the most important ingredient for success, the third “leg of the stool”, is emotional control.

Understanding the psychology of trading and acting upon its precepts are often easier said than done. Not only must one react properly to the “socially-driven” movements of the market, but one also must be aware of his personal tendencies and how to prevent his mind from undermining his well-thought out trading strategies.

Studies in the field of trading psychology have confirmed time after time that our subconscious mind, programmed from birth by our personal external experiences, can often become our worst enemy when trading in a stressful environment, especially when real money is on the line and the fear of loss is present. These conditions exist in all investing markets, but the intensity is heightened when trading currencies in the forex world. Time frames are compressed. Market reversals can be swift, and successful traders must be technically nimble and decisive in asserting their trading plans.

If truth be known, behavioral dynamics actually are the contributing factor that make our markets tradable in the first place. When major currencies were allowed to float back in the seventies after years of regimented central bank control, finance officials reacted with amazement to the level of volatility in the forex markets. Each currency pair developed its own personality, fluctuating daily well beyond previous standards that had been maintained for decades following World War II. The interpretation of fundamental and technical factors can vary by individual, and these varying opinions are what lead to wavelike market patterns before a consensus equilibrium is reached.

For the individual trader, psychological factors manifest primarily in an inability “to pull the trigger” before opening or closing a forex position. This “hesitancy” can result from several causes, but the most probable reasons fall into two categories. First, a lack of confidence when applying trading principles to react to various patterns and trade set-ups can stop a trader in his tracks if he lacks experience in how he trades and in the methods that he has been taught. More practice trading on free demo accounts is the recipe, as most experienced and successful traders swear by their practice regimens.

The second reason can be termed “performance anxiety”. Fear of loss or accountability can wreak havoc on a trader’s mind. Your subconscious mind is a storehouse of many uncomfortable experiences, accompanied by coping responses that will prevent a recurrence of the previous trauma. Opening a position can generally be a more positive situation, invoking hope for future gain and displaying assertiveness when confronted by a particular market situation. Closing that position can be quite the opposite set of events. Should I or shouldn’t I? When do I pull the plug? Why now and not later? Suddenly, the threat of poor performance results in hesitancy and procrastination, a recipe for failure in the world of forex trading.

So what is a trader to do? Trading simulation systems are the only way to gain the necessary confidence and consistency with your individual training plans, but the “cure” is more about extensive practice routines to “habitualize” your step-by-step trading plan. Creative visualizations also help to define exit “triggers”, but a trusted and disciplined routine is the only known method for preventing unwanted mental intervention in the course of trading positions. And keep in mind that, even if practice accounts and theoretic trading are great for learning, they have many limitations and do not necessarily reflect real market conditions.

Buy 5 BHP March 9.49 Calls @ 0.05

That represents $0.17 x 5265 to close out the position. As these are covered calls I own 5625 BHP against which I write these calls. Since doing this BHP has gone from $9.95 to close today at $8.93 so it’s fallen $1.02 (my average buy price was below $9.95).

In the same time I’ve earned net premiums of 0.24, 0.185 and 0.17, or 0.495 all up (less commissions). So I’m facing a net loss. I don’t feel bad about this as I think BHP should bounce back nicely. There is a risk of overtrading here.

BHPEL down to 0.075

OK, it appears that I have wondered from my trading strategy and am trading on emotion. Yes it is good to take insurance — in my case I did that by buying BHPEL back at 0.105 yesterday to close out my position.

I didn’t expect BHP to hit $9.49. For the record I don’t think it will hit it before 27 Feb 03 when the calls expire. But what if it did? So I closed out.

I need to document my trading strategy and follow it for a few trades.

Buy 5 BHP Feb 9.49 Calls

I bought them back at 0.105 (0.005 profit) to close out the position. That makes it my worst option trade to date. I’m out $230 in commissions. Something is going on with BHP and I have no idea. Neither does my broker. I could hold on, if BHP hits $9.49 I get exercised and pay selling commission, or the option expires worthless. Either way I have too much to do to hover over the markets hoping.

After calling the order, I changed my mind. I’ll tough it out and see what happens. I have the ALL trade’s profits as a buffer. Luckily (?) it was too late, the trade went through and my position is closed out.

If BHP continues to rally I’ll write a 9.97 call next and should get good premium.

Write 5 BHP Feb 9.49 Calls

OK after some needling I’ll blog when I do an option trade as well. Basically all I’ve done since November 2002 is write covered calls on my BHP holding. The deals were
5 December 10.21 BHP Call options
Each contract is 1053 shares so 5 = 5265 shares
Premium received $0.30 x 5265
bought them back to close out the position at $0.06
Income on deal is $0.24 x 5265 = $1,263.60 less commissions (~$240.00)

5 January 9.97 BHP Call option
Premium received $0.20 x 5265
bought them back to close out the position at $0.015
Income on deal is $0.185 x 5265 = $974.03 less commissions

Today wrote 5 February 9.49 BHP Call options
Premium received $0.11 x 5265
Income on deal so far is $0.11 x 5265 = $579.15

I don’t expect to buy them back to close out the position because
1) the options expire 27/2/02 – only 15 days away;
2) they are worthless unless BHP breaks $9.49 in that time;
3) I’ve become more bearish on BHP so I don’t mind being exercised.