Online trading scams: Fraudsters pose as supposed helpers

Reading time: 7 minutes

Online trading involves a high risk of loss. In addition, investors can quickly get involved with dubious trading platforms all over Europe. But that is not all.

Dubious service providers, false arbitrators and supposed supervisory authorities offer to recover lost money for those affected.

Investors should not get involved in this under any circumstances. They are only threatened with more losses.


  • Lost money trading online? Don't fall for offers of help.
  • Fraudsters pretend to be a supervisory authority, a law firm or an arbitrator.
  • Websites of the scammers look serious and are easily found by search engines.
  • Fraudsters often also contact their victims by telephone.
  • Supposed "helpers" and dubious brokers are in cahoots together.
  • Never pay money in advance to strangers and do not disclose any private information about yourself.

Dubious trading platforms

CFD and Forex trading as well as binary options are highly speculative investments with a high risk of loss.

Nevertheless, there are numerous offers on the internet. As is so often the case, black sheep are up to no good here too and lure investors to dubious trading platforms with lucrative promises of profits without risk of loss.

Nevertheless, there are numerous offers on the internet. As is so often the case, black sheep are up to no good here too and lure investors to dubious trading platforms with lucrative promises of profits without risk of loss.

After the first alleged successes, the investors only suffer losses up to total loss. Or the (alleged) profits are not paid out.

Once they have been defrauded, those affected would naturally like to have their money back. Fraudsters and dubious service companies are taking advantage of this fact once again.

Alleged authorities, law firms, tax advisors or arbitrators give bruised investors the hope of getting their money back.

Fraudsters feign respectability

The websites of self-proclaimed "Knights in shining armours” are graphically elaborate.

Logos and company names are reminiscent of well-known law firms as well as European institutions or arbitration bodies. On one homepage, for example, it says:

Have you been scammed by a broker?

We specialise in online scams and help victims get their money back.

We settle disputes with traders quickly, efficiently and impartially.

Contact us

This is accompanied by a promotional video in which a young woman promises honesty and transparency.

If you take a closer look at the websites, you will also find an imprint with an email address and telephone number. Often a company headquarters in Great Britain, Malta or Cyprus is given.

Member lists, alleged partners and employees are also listed.

In short: everything looks professional and appears serious. 

It is difficult to see at first glance that dubious people with fraudulent intentions are hiding behind this façade.

Affected investors can contact the competent financial supervisory authority

The dishonesty starts with the alleged authorities or law firms pretending to have ex officio legal recourse against suspicious brokers.

However, this is by no means the case. In the EU, every country has an official financial supervisory authority. Only this authority has the power to prosecute legal violations.

In Germany, this is the „Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht“ (Federal Financial Supervisory Authority), short: BaFin.

Get free help

Do you have a question about your consumer rights or would you like to make a complaint against a supplier from another EU country, Iceland, Norway or the United Kingdom? Then contact us now.

Supposed helpers lure investors into the trap

The fake dispute resolvers or law firms can, if at all, only mediate or take legal action against the providers.

They rely on a settlement between broker and investor outside of court proceedings. It is highly doubtful that brokers voluntarily repay money.

The alleged "helpers" also have a conflict of interest. For often the brokers against whom action is to be taken are listed as members or clients.

It is also hard to believe that the "arbitrators" are now claiming money from their own members from investors who have been cheated.

Rather, it is to be assumed that "arbitrators" and brokers are in cahoots and are deliberately fleecing private investors a second time.

This also explains where the "helpers" got the consumers' contact details.

And that's not all: Since the dubious brokers are listed on the company websites as members or customers, the websites of the supposed helpers are easily found by search engines.

In plain language: If a victim of fraud looks for help on the internet, there is a high probability that he will fall directly into the next trap.  

Fraudsters know how their victims are wired

Unfortunately, those who have lost money once in trading are usually willing to pay money a second time.

Fraudsters are aware of this. The victims only need to be approached and convinced accordingly.

And so the dubious service providers, false arbitrators and supposed supervisory authorities advertise their alleged victim assistance in relevant forums and on various channels such as YouTube.

Some bruised investors told us that they were contacted directly by telephone: "You have lost stakes in trading after all. We can help".

Consumers wonder where the alleged helpers got their personal data from. Here, it can only be assumed that they are collected and transmitted by the fraudulent brokers themselves.

Allegedly recovered money is stored temporarily

Several hundred euros are to be paid in advance for the supposed help in retrieving the lost money.

Those who take up the offer quickly receive the message that the lost money has allegedly been recovered.

For security reasons, it has been transferred to a foreign bank account, for example on the Cayman Islands.

Those affected are then asked by the backers to make further payments with flimsy arguments such as money laundering laws and alleged demands for "collateral" by the European Union or other agencies.

Only then can the "saved" money be paid out.

See below the example of such a letter:

Example: dubious request for payment

In a letter, duped investors are told that the lost money has been recovered and is being stored in a foreign account.

A "security deposit" of 6,500 euros must still be paid - this is allegedly required by the European Union.

Never pay such demands!

Protect against fraud: Tips for private investors

  • Before any investment or other payment, inform yourself comprehensively about trading platforms, online brokers or alleged supervisory authority and service providers.
  • With a simple internet search you can find testimonials and warnings from other users.
  • If you have become a victim of investment fraud, you should file a complaint with the police or the public prosecutor's office as soon as possible. You should also report the fraud to BaFin.
  • Fraudsters often indicate a foreign registered office, for example a Limited (LTD) or a Corporation (Corp.). Caution is advised here. It is best to enter the company address in search engines and online map services (Google Maps). If there is no company at the address given, or if there are many other companies, this is a warning sign.
  • Also look at the photos for the respective addresses on the map services. For example, if a private house in the countryside is shown, it is very unlikely to be a company headquarters.
  • If you are contacted by unknown persons who want to persuade you to invest or supposedly get back lost money: Just don't go for it and never give out private data or account numbers.
  • In this context, also avoid bank transfers. As a rule, you will never see the money again.
  • not be fooled by people posing as public authority employees or lawyers and other service providers.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.