How to recognize a fake ‘binary options’ website

It is quite usual to come across someone who had become a victim of a scam of some sort. People fall victim to scam for many reasons. The most obvious reason is that they have been promised huge returns and rich life by the scammer, while the victim was mesmerized by the promise of richness, too greedy to see the obvious red signs or they simply didn’t have enough knowledge to recognize a scam. Earlier, I wrote an article about the tactics used by the scammers and how to avoid them. I am happy to know that it opened eyes of many newcomers into forex and binary options groups on facebook.

This article is specifically about how to recognize a fake ‘binary options’ website. I put the words binary options in inverted commas because those websites are not real binary options websites, but rather they are attempts to convince relatively new comers to think that these websites are real binary options websites, especially since it is recommended by a ‘professional account manager’ on one of the facebook groups, who promised to trade and make this new comer rich if he opened an account with the website and deposit money into it. What could happen after that has been described by the earlier article I wrote about scammers.

Why are scammers increasingly using fake websites?

One obvious answer is, more and more people like me are telling the new comers not to send money through western union or a similar method to any individual, but rather to create an account with the broker and deposit the money to the broker, and that an account manager only needs trading account login to trade. This way the scammer does not get hold of the funds directly. This has obviously reduced the possibility of the scammers getting money from new comers. This also has resulted in anyone who asked money in such a manner to be immediately suspected of being a scammer.

The scammers who have seen this development have started pretending to be real helpers since they will not need to ask people to send money to them directly. But they too will act to be good guys giving good advice ‘create and fund you own account with the broker’. So someone who says this can’t be a scammer, right?  So the unsuspecting victim creates an account with this ‘broker’ and deposits money. This way the money goes right to the scammers, no withdrawal is ever possible.

So, how to recognize such a fake website?

There are many things you can look for, before opening an account.

    1. Check the age of the website domain.
      To do that, you can use the following tool. Just enter the domain name and click lookup and it will give many details of the web domain.

      Look at the date in which the domain was registered/created. Scam websites tend to be very new sites. This is due to the fact that, if people get scammed they will somehow tell people about it and the domain name gets exposed. So the scam websites need to keep migrating from one domain to another quickly. The scam account managers call this ‘renewing’ or ‘upgrading’. I tell them, real brokers upgrade system all the time and their domain remains the same.
    2. No use of SSL
      All the legitimate brokers use SSL. The easiest way to see this is that the protocol of the website is https if it uses SSL. Use of SSL could mean that the scammers will have to spend extra money, in addition to what they pay to buy the domain and web hosting. Since those who will fall for the trap would not know what SSL is, why spend that extra money? Ok, let’s make their scamming business a little more costly for them. If the website does not use SSL, it can be immediately recognized as a scam. This does not mean any website that uses SSL is legitimate. It’s just that any website that doesn’t use SSL can be surely considered as scam.
    3. Parts of the website are incomplete
      Since they need to move from one domain to the another quite frequently, they often start to refer people to this site as soon as it ‘looks’ like a website. But if you look closely, you can see the website can have many links that don’t work. Many social icons will simply have ‘#’ as the link. I have seen many such sites where the the old name that they had been using still appearing here and there especially in their ‘terms of use’ pages, where it is easy to have gone unnoticed even for their webmaster.
      I have also seen that some areas of their website can even have the default text from the web template from which they created the website. A legitimate broker will not have such issues.
    4. look for their registration number and their regulatory authority
      Many scam websites simply will not display any such information. But it is quite often the case that the scam websites may write that they are regulated by ‘FCA’ or ‘CySEC’ etc. But they won’t be able to give a registration number, because if they do, they know they are easily exposed. Anyone can check FCA website (https://register.fca.org.uk/ShPo_HomePage) and look up the registration number.

What if they do really fix such website issues?
Yeah it is possible that soon they will have no choice but to fix all the cosmetic issues I have mentioned and to use SSL. Well, that makes it more expensive to run the scam business, right? let’s make it more troublesome to scam people.
But even if they fix all those issues, they still can’t register as a broker just like that and get a registration number just to scam a few people, and within a month they will have to do it all over again. This just can’t happen.

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