As we move into the festive season, Cybertrace is issuing a red alert for the LondonFX scam. Ho-ho-hopping between different domains (londonfx.co, londonfx.com, londonfx.cn) to avoid getting shut down by regulators, these fraudsters are looking to raid your Christmas stocking and leave you with a lump of coal. Do not invest your hard-earned money with these unlicensed and unregulated con artists who imitate a genuine company! If they have already fleeced you, stop throwing good money after bad and contact Cybertrace instead. Our experienced investigators have extensive knowledge of the scam syndicate’s operations, which they have connected to several other known fraudulent websites, such as ironefx.com. While the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) shut down several of the scammers’ websites, they are simply opening up new sites in a constant game of cat and mouse. No more! Let’s leave the games for Christmas presents and get serious with these scammers.
How does the LondonFX scam work?
Even though their name suggests foreign exchange (forex) trading, the LondonFX scammers pretend to be a predominantly crypto-based broker. With interest in cryptocurrency investment burgeoning and requisite knowledge among investors low, this field is rife for scams. As professional con artists, the LondonFX scammers follow the standard crypto investment fraud playbook. Like similar scams we have investigated, the key vehicle is a professional-looking website, currently available in English and German. Giving the persuasive illusion of expertise, the LondonFX scammers combine this with aggressive phone sales techniques to convince their targets.
What is the scammers’ playbook?
The fraudsters obtain victims’ phone numbers via false ads or fake giveaway promotions of luxury villas or fancy cars. Next, they route them to their website and convince them to make a small initial “investment”. After showing some remarkably quick and high “wins”, the scammers persuade their targets to plough in more and more money. Unfortunately, this can even include vital superannuation funds or loans from family members. The scammers will keep up the façade as long as their targets continue to invest. However, as soon as victims smell a rat or simply want to cash out, problems start appearing. Brokers delay and/or even cease communication or ask for “tax” payments before withdrawals. This is the LondonFX scammers’ endgame: squeezing every last bit of money out of victims before they realise what happened. Those at the receiving end are left with empty bank accounts and a lump in their throat.
How can I spot a scam like LondonFX?
Falling victim to a scam feels devastating. On top of that, victims often blame themselves for not realising it sooner. Shock and anger mixed with shame keep many suffering in silence. However, it’s important to remember these fraudsters are professionals, and they know just what to say to ensnare victims. Let’s take a look at some of the key signs our experienced investigators look for when examining potential scams. Hopefully, this will help to protect yourself and your family against the LondonFX scammers and others like it. After that, we’ll share a link to ScamSleuth, Cybertrace’s quick and free public fraud detection tool. It’s there to take the hard work out of scam prevention for you!
Look out for official warnings
Before making any kind of investment, it pays to do some desktop research on the company’s bona fides. As far as the LondonFX scam is concerned, there are two clear official warnings by relevant authorities. Firstly, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has called out the LondonFX scam as a clone firm imitating a genuine company. Coming from the UK Government’s official regulator, that’s a pretty definitive verdict, along with it taking down several web domains. Secondly, the genuine firm in question, londonfx.co.uk, has also issued a statement on its own website. It states that the LondonFX scammers “operate unlawfully using our name” and that they “have no connection with the registrants”. These warnings are important, but what do you do if no-one else has yet realised that it is a scam?
Check for registration and regulation
Genuine brokers will readily and clearly provide their business location, registration details and regulator information. This is important in order to build trust with investors since proper registration and regulation provides legal oversight. Regulators ensure safe and integral conduct, mitigate risk, and don’t tolerate unlawful behaviour. Finally, they provide compensations schemes to investors whose brokers can’t pay them back due to bankruptcy. So, how does the LondonFX scam stack up?
Wait, so where is LondonFX actually registered and regulated?
The LondonFX scammers list a range of addresses and locations on their website in order to confuse potential victims. Office locations on the footer of their website include London, UK, and Sofia, Bulgaria, where it appears they are registered. However, to operate out of either location requires registration with the respective financial regulator. Unfortunately, neither the UK’s FCA nor its Bulgarian counterpart, the Financial Supervision Commission, have licensed LondonFX. Finally, in its Terms & Conditions, LondonFX states that it is governed by the laws of the Marshall Islands. While this Pacific atoll archipelago offers many wonderful things, a financial regulator and supervisory framework are not amongst them. In fact, anyone can open an online business in the Marshall Islands without ever setting foot there! It’s not looking good for LondonFX.
Find out who owns, runs, and works for it
While legitimate brokers put their names and faces to their work, the LondonFX scammers hide in the shadows. Their website provides zero information as to who owns, runs, or works for the company. In fact, the only names and faces anywhere on the website are those of supposedly satisfied customers. There’s only one problem: they’re all completely fake, with names and photos either made up or copied from other sites! Equally, there are no genuine current social media accounts for the company, nor can any employees be found on LinkedIn. Our expert analysts know no (or fake) profiles mean the LondonFX scammers have something to hide!
Review others’ experiences
This last point is a tricky one, as we discussed in another blog. While independent reviews can offer insights into others’ authentic experiences, they are also open to manipulation. Many scammers will deliberately flood anonymous sites such as Trustpilot with fake reviews in order to tamper with their rating. Others will even go so far as to publish fake news article in order to sway victims with supposedly independent reassurance. Having said that, we can wade through these murky waters with a keen eye. For example, we can spot a number of specialist independent review sites such as this and this calling LondonFX out as a scam. Additionally, among the many fake generic five-stars reviews on Trustpilot, we see numerous victims of the LondonFX scammers speaking out. Together with the other key signs and the results of our forensic website investigations, we can be certain. LondonFX is definitely a scam!
Isn’t there a quicker way to figure all of this out?
While some insight into our approach regarding the LondonFX scam is helpful, who has the time to do this themselves? Luckily, you don’t have to! For your convenience, Cybertrace has developed ScamSleuth, a free, easy-to-use public scam detector tool. Simply run any investment website through ScamSleuth and, within seconds, you will have the result with a clear traffic-light warning. It couldn’t be easier, so make sure to bookmark ScamSleuth and share it with your friends and family!
But I have already been scammed – what can I do?
If the LondonFX scammers already got to you, don’t despair! Contact your bank or credit card provider to see if they are able to recoup your funds for you. If the answer is no, get in touch with Cybertrace today. We have vast experience to draw on and our expert investigators will walk you through your options carefully and methodically. Beware of shady recovery scammers who promise simple processes and guaranteed returns – they are lying to you and simply want to scam you out of even more money. Go with the trusted experts at Cybertrace – we’re here for you!
If you are a current or former staff member of the syndicate and would like to speak with us, you can contact us anonymously via [email protected]. We have successfully worked with conscientious insiders when investigating previous scams, thus bringing justice and relief to long-suffering victims. Your help can make a real difference!