Beware! VirtueForex is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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VirtueForex is an offshore broker that advertises trading in forex, precious metals and cryptocurrencies. They do not offer different types of accounts – there are only Demo and Live accounts. The first one can be accessed via the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading platform, while the second one requires submission of an Application Form asking for First and Last name, Email address and Phone number, as well as selecting Account type (Forex or Qrypto), Account currency (USD or JPY), Leverage and range of First deposit amount with a minimum of $100.
On the broker’s home page we see a table, which is supposed to compare VirtueForex to three other companies. It looks as a mere prototype, however – the other companies are A, B and C, and for “Transaction fee” the entry is simply “Fee”.
Overall, the website strikes us as quite unprofessional and lacking in terms of design, which raises a red flag. Despite the boastful claims of awards and happy clients’ testimonials, our first feeling is that this broker is not entirely legit and we should stay away from them.
VirtueForex Regulation and safety of funds
VirtueForex website is operated by Virtue Technology Group Ltd. They put forward a UK address and a Panama address as their operation base. Searching the internet, we find that Virtue Technology Group has registration in the UK as a Private Limited Company, but the address on file is different from the one in the website and under Nature of Business it says “99999 – Dormant Company” – one that is not currently carrying on any kind of business activity or receiving any form of income.
From the very beginning, it is clear this broker targets Japanese investors – the currency options are only USD and JPY, the only language the website is translated into is Japanese and most examples given involve Japanese Yen. Thus, it is no surprise that Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) has included VirtueForex in a list of companies/ persons that “conduct financial instruments business without registration”.
Although there are the logos of a number of major banks on the website, put there to convince potential investors these are liquidity providers, there is nothing to substantiate this.
VirtueForex also claims to provide “Safety of funds Trust” via “Separate management of customer funds”. This is a standard policy for regulated brokers, but in the case of this brokerage, we do not have a watchdog organization to oversee compliance to the rules. Top watchdog agencies, such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) regulating forex trading in the EU, impose very strict rules to the companies they license. Brokers have to maintain the Minimum Capital Requirements of €730 000 to guarantee their good financial standing. When it comes to safety of funds, there is a Client Account Segregation requirement – clients’ money must be kept separate from the broker’s operating funds and a Negative Balance Protection policy – one may not lose more than the initially invested funds.
Regulated brokers will always provide proof of their licensing in order to gain investors’ confidence. With VirtueForex we do not find any, so we must conclude they are not a regulated broker and your money is not safe with them.
VirtueForex Trading Software
The broker offers the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading platform as desktop and mobile (iOS and Android) applications. Although it was first launched back in 2005, MT4 is still the world’s leading platform, preferred by more than 80% of users. It offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface, advanced charting and analysis tools, as well as copy and auto-trade options. It can be further customized to create different trading strategies using its proprietary MQL4 programming language.
VirtueForex Trading Conditions
On the Home page we noticed a spread of 0.7 pips being advertised for the EURUSD currency pair. Such narrow spread is too good to be true – even the biggest forex brokers rarely can afford to offer spreads below 1 pip, and then only to professional traders dealing with sizable lots. Not surprisingly, the EURUSD spread we see with the MT4 Demo account is floating between 1.5 and 2 pips, which is more in line with standard trading conditions, even a bit on the high side.
The statements concerning leverage are also inconsistent. First in the Comparison table we mentioned above they say 1:1000; in the Live Account Application Form, however, the options were only up to 1:500. In any case, even the latter is quite excessive. In Europe and the US leverage for retail brokers is capped at 1:30 and 1:50, respectively, by the regulation authorities. High leverage provides huge profit potential, but it also presents great risks to the traders because any losses incurred will be multiplied.
VirtueForex Deposit/Withdrawal Methods And Fees
VirtueForex accepts deposits via 3 payment methods – Bank Wire, Cryptocurrency and VT Cash. The latter turned out to be a virtual money platform owned by the same company that stands behind the brokerage, Virtue Technology Group, and as can be seen from the screenshot below, they charge a 2% fee per deposit, which is quite steep.
The brokerage does not accept deposits with credit or debit cards, which raises a big red flag. Most con-artists shy away from standard payment methods since with them clients may file for a chargeback. What scam brokers prefer is Bitcoin as it is completely untraceable and anonymous, or shady virtual money services, such as the one in the screenshot. Most respected brokers also have PayPal and other preferred by traders e-wallets, such as Skrill and Neteller.
The minimum deposit or withdrawal is “10,000 yen or 100 dollars.” Withdrawals with VT Cash are again charged with a fee of 2% of the amount, while ones via Bank Wire come with a flat fee of $35 and are processed within 3 business days. The broker also states that they may charge additional fees and/or commissions or increase the current fees and/or commissions, but at least they will give 30 days notice.
Considering the inconsistencies described above and the lack of regulation, we believe VirtueForex is an unlicensed scam broker and we do not advise investing with them.
How does the scam work?
The usual scam operates on a multi-level, though very basic model. The users will be tempted to click on an Internet ad promising quick and easy profits. If they do, it will take them to a website that will ask for their personal details, including email address and phone number. Once they submit this information, an avalanche of emails and phone calls will be unleashed. Scammers will promise the world to these potential traders in order to induce them to make an initial deposit between $200 and $300.
These “brokers” will get a fat commission from the deposited sums and will transfer the unsuspecting users to “senior” scammers. The latter are smooth talkers who will try to persuade users to invest more funds, using phrases like “now is the right time” and “the moment is perfect for making hefty profits”. Of course, these are empty words, and traders will soon have doubts whether they have not been played.
When they try to withdraw their money, these doubts will be confirmed: the con-artists will do anything to deny or at least delay their withdrawals. From trying to convince the traders that they are making a big mistake to withdraw funds now because they will lose big profits, to asking for additional documents or citing clauses in the accepted agreements, to transferring you to another department, there is a single objective to delay the users from filing for a chargeback with their financial institution and lose any chances of recovering their money.
What to do when scammed?
Anyone can fall prey to such a scam. In the unfortunate event this happens to you, there are a few things you can do. If you deposited using a credit card you should immediately file for a chargeback. In an effort to combat online fraud VISA and MasterCard have extended the period in which one can file a chargeback to a year and a half, so there is a big chance that you may be able to recover your funds. If however, you used a bank wire or bitcoin to deposit, chances to get your money back are almost none.
We should also warn against “recovery agencies” who prey on victimized traders by claiming they can recover their funds. These scammers will ask you to pay a fee for this service, but will only take your money and do nothing.
Rich Snippet Data
The Forex Review