Claudia Zimmermann is herself a victim of fraudulent online brokers. She has summarised her experience and her fight against these “Financial Markets Terrorists” in book form. The FinTelegram team has read all three volumes and can only warmly recommend them to investors.
Currently, the books are available in German only but FinTelegram and Claudia Zimmermann will arrange the translation into English.
This “10 Points to Survive A Broker Scam” is perfectly summerizing the experience with binary options and forex scams and provides a guideline for victims of these schemes.
The Chance of Financial Terrorists
Interest rates continue to be historically low and it does not look as if this will change very quickly. They are also kept artificially low with the help of the European and other central banks. The fall in interest rates as a result of a central bank policy which, in order to mitigate the consequences of the financial crisis, has virtually destroyed interest rates. Many citizens are worried about their savings. A creeping expropriation is in progress. In the past, many private retail investors have had bad experiences with their banks, investing in funds that fell in value instead of rising and this only because they were given the wrong advice. Nevertheless, stocks and real estate are rising in value in particular. In the World Wide Web, you will find hundreds of so-called online broker websites. These offer shares, commodities, Forex or also the so-called CFD trade and in the meantime also cryptocurrencies.
The websites of these brokers are professionally designed, most online brokers provide a European company as the
1. See through the fraud
The scams always the same pattern. In the beginning, retail investors make profits, sometimes they even manage to have smaller profits paid out through their account. That’s comforting and generates trust. You’ll be persuaded to invest more. As soon as you have deposited a larger amount your winnings will shrink. Please note that these companies know exactly who you are. The moment you have become a customer, the
This is an older widow, she has a detached house in southern Germany. Target: 50,000 euros. This is a truck driver. He’s got a terraced house. Married. Target: 20,000 euros.
In the beginning, you are persuaded to invest bigger and bigger amounts, they try to explain that their investments are excellent and you urgently need to invest more so that you can make higher profits. Often the amounts are not even invested and the trading results you are shown or see on their dashboard do not even exist. If the goal of the corrupt online brokers is roughly reached, then they have no chance to get their money back. Suddenly there is a large or even total loss. You’re shocked. How is that possible? How could this happen? It all looked so good. Their hands are shaking, their minds are dropping, they’re desperate. What to do now?
2. No Further I
You contact your broker, your personal financial analyst. He most certainly tells you that, unfortunately, everything developed differently, that he could not change anything, it was only due to the general situation on the stock exchange, the crisis, Trump, China, Venezuela, the Euro
Don’t do this at all. Absolutely no more deposits. Nothing. As beautiful as his words may sound, as desperate as you are, as much as you would like to believe him, I guarantee you that this money will also be gone. Isn’t your loss enough? Leave it alone. Don’t be persuaded by whatever your financial analyst promises. Don’t invest another cent. If it’s clear to the broker that you won’t go for it, he’ll cut the contact. You will not be able to reach him by phone or e-mail. They’re trying to threaten him with lawyers, authorities, police. That bounces off him because he experiences that hundreds of times every day and he knows exactly how small their chances are.
3. Don’t Be Ashamed
How did this happen to you of all people? You are intelligent, you are not investing for the first time, you have taken a very close look at the company. Only good reviews on the Internet. A registration number. Everything correct and legal, similar to a bank. Their financial analyst at the broker advised them well, he was sympathetic, they had small talk with him. He’s got you wrapped around his finger. In hindsight, you may recognize the strategy. You’re ashamed of yourself. Don’t do that.
You didn’t stand a chance, believe me. You’re not the first victim, and you won’t be the last. Boiler room employees are psychologically trained down to the last detail. Many brokers come from Israel, are active in Europe and use psychological tricks used by intelligence agencies around the world to influence people. In some cases, you work with professors and psychologists, for example from renowned universities. The good ratings on the Internet only exist because they reviewed themselves in different online magazines, some of which are part of the system. Poor ratings are deleted with the help of software programs or moved to the back. Many reviews in online magazines are also only paid ads.
4. All Cards Face Up On The Table at Home
Tell your loved ones what happened. Most victims are so ashamed that they hardly dare. Some haven’t even told their family about their investment in a broker. Now is the time to put all cards open on the family table, that is important because together you can think clearly and support each other. At the same time, others should be warned. Many brokers even try to separate their clients from their families. They split with stories: “Well, you don’t have to tell your wife that if you invest more now, you don’t tell her until you’ve really made a profit, what do you think she’ll like when you book a great holiday“. It’s part of the psychological game.
Similar to so-called lover boys, where young women are gradually separated from their own family with stories, only to fall into the clutches of the pimps, the brokers also work with this psycho terror. They try to get the clients completely into their realm. The more secrets the customer has from his relatives, the easier it is for them to influence him. Now it’s no use anymore. They have to talk openly and honestly with their relatives, only then can they get through this difficult phase and act together.
5. Notification to Bank, Credit Card Company and Payment Service P
This is the first really active step you should take. As soon as possible. There’s no time to lose here. The day you discover that you have been scammed, you must take action. How did you pay? By bank transfer? Online? Or by credit card? If you have paid by credit card and are not 90 to 120 days away – depending on the credit card company – then you are lucky. The amounts paid by credit card can be refunded within 90 to 120 days using the chargeback procedure. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Most banks refuse to use this procedure. They’re trying to put the victim at a disadvantage.
The banks notify the credit card company, which, in turn, informs them that it does not want to use the chargeback procedure and the bank often accepts this. Here you must remain persistent and if necessary threaten to make a complaint to the police against the bank. The Bank is obliged to deploy this chargeback procedure for non-delivered services. Sometimes the bank offers victims a settlement. Don’t accept it, insist on the chargeback. Even if you have placed the order yourself and the Online Broker has not debited it independently, you still have the right to compensation. Insist on your rights! The banks blame it on the credit card companies and they, in turn, blame it back on the banks. In the case of brokers, the reason for your chargeback request would be a service not received. Legally, you’re entitled to it.
6. Reporting to The P
Then turn to your local police. Make an appointment. Collect all the information you have beforehand, the more the better. Put everything open on the table here, too. You have the names of the employees. Unfortunately, these are
The names of the employees are of little use to the police. Research them at the latest now, if they haven’t done it before, who is the parent company of their platform. Look into the imprint and into the terms and conditions (you should have done this already before) who is actually behind the scheme. These are mostly holding companies based in Panama, Mauritius, Belize, and other offshore islands. A single holding company usually operates up to one hundred different broker websites. The police need that information. If you persist, insist on a report. Many police stations do not want to file a complaint because the perpetrators are abroad. They have been injured in their country and have a right to a proper complaint.
7. Notify Your Financial Market Authority
Report your case to the Financial Supervisory Authority in your jurisdiction. You can do that online. Report your story in as much detail as possible. Send scanned documents or copies. ( Never originals). Try to be rational. Avoid emotional statements, even if you feel desperate. You can only achieve something with calm and step by step. Here, too, the rule is: don’t let them get rid of you. Insist that your case be documented and request a written confirmation your filing.
8. Report to Foreign Financial Watchdogs
Report your broker in writing to the financial supervisory authority of the country where your broker is registered. Most of them are Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta or Ireland. You can do that online. Follow the same procedure as for the police and BaFin. Stay calm in your language. Stick to the facts and write down everything you know. Send a copy of this notification to the ESMA European Securities and Markets Authority in Paris and also to BaFin.
9. Join Self-Help Groups
There are now several groups of victims on the Internet, for example on Facebook “Online Investors Rights” or the ForexPeaceArmy. Some of the victims of a single broker, for example, IronFX, have also joined forces. Here you can become a free and non-binding member and exchange information with each other. This helps a lot, not only psychologically or to let off steam, but also with the practical things that have to be done now. Together we can possibly achieve something politically, for example with EU authorities.
10. Seek Legal A
This may be the most difficult point. There are hundreds of companies on the Internet that can help you if you have been harmed by a broker. Don’t trust these companies. Most of them are companies that do not perform, some even work together with brokers and take the last money from victims. Many lawyers also promise you quick help and promise to get the money back, often for horrendous fees or advance payments.
It’s very difficult to give any good advice here. Our experience has been that most people don’t manage to get money back. There are very few lawyers who communicate this honestly. You need a lawyer who specializes in corrupt brokers/financial corruption and not a general lawyer. Don’t trust that the lawyers with the best ratings on the Internet are actually the best. The Internet is patient. Inform yourself with other injured parties.
It won’t stop
Every day tens of thousands of victims around the world are tricked. The judiciary and financial supervisory authorities are obviously overburdened: an ideal environment for criminal brokers. The protection of private investors in Europe is low. Many injured parties have been struggling in vain for years to get their investments back. But the pressure is growing from all sides. More and more victims are joining forces. I started researching my books Terrorists of the financial markets in 2016 and quickly got into a swamp of financial crime. In the meantime, there are three parts “Terrorists of the financial markets” and a special book on cryptocurrencies: “ICOs, cryptocurrencies and blockchain: money laundering has never been so easy“. Perhaps the experience and research in these books can help you if you have been harmed. Brokers are more active than ever before, especially in Europe, and when a company is closed many new ones are opened. Europe the paradise for corrupt brokers and money laundering. But the more people know about it, the more difficult it becomes to do business with unsuspecting small investors.