flagsThe best way to stay safe while you are trading binary options is to avoid a scam in the first place, but that is not always going to work out, so it is a good idea to be well versed in scam warning signs that you may encounter even after registering with a broker.  You will probably lose money if you have already deposited with a bad broker, but at least you can cut your losses short.  It is better to figure out the truth late than never.  And the last thing you want is for your pride to get in the way.  Everybody makes mistakes.  Here are some signs of suspicious activity that should make you consider pulling your money out and finding a new site to trade on.

  1. The broker is dodging your phone calls or emails.

A very bad sign is when communication lines are blocked.  This may be a temporary situation, and it may have nothing to do with you.  Then again, if you have an urgent inquiry, it very well may be that your broker is avoiding you altogether.  And look at it this way:  Even if they aren’t, they are still not helping you out when you need it the most, which can cost you money even if they are not a fraudulent company.  Be very wary when a binary options broker seems to be going out of their way to avoid talking to you when you have a problem, especially one involving payouts or withdrawals. Use this as a guide for excellent customer service.

  1. The broker refuses to talk to you via email, and demands you talk via phone.

For some reason, this is another common tactic of untrustworthy brokers.  If you have an issue and you send an email or you get on the live chat hoping to resolve it swiftly, the agent you reach tells you to call in and gives you a phone number.  If you do, the person who picks up on the other end has a slew of excuses for you and begs you for “a chance to make things right.”  He or she may offer a solution, but it will be convoluted and require all kinds of time.  This is another sign that a broker is in the middle of scamming you out of your money.  While most brokers will avoid confrontation in this situation, others will confront you directly, hoping they can keep you around so they can scam you some more.

Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
90% $10 $1
 
200% $50 $10
 
85% $200 $20
 
85% $100 $5
 
85% $10 $1
 
95% $250 $1
 
80% $5 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
95% $250 $1
 
80% $10 $0.10
 
160% - 180% $50 $2
 
95% $250 $1
 
90% $250 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
200% $50 $10
 
95% $250 $1
 
90% $50 $1
 
80% $5 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  200% $50 $10
 
  85% $200 $20
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
90% $10 $1
 
200% $50 $10
 
85% $50 $1
 
85% $200 $20
 
85% $100 $5
 
95% $250 $1
 
85% $10 $1
 
80% $5 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
80% $250 $25
 
85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
90% $10 $1
 
90% $50 $1
 
85% $100 $5
 
85% $10 $1
 
85% $50 $1
 
85% $200 $20
 
95% $250 $1
 
80% $250 $25
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  85% $50 $1
 
  200% $50 $10
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $200 $20
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
  85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $250 $10
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
  85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  90% $50 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
90% $10 $1
 
85% $200 $20
 
85% $100 $5
 
95% $250 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  80% $250 $25
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  90% $10 $1
 
  200% $50 $10
 
  85% $250 $10
 
  85% $50 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
  85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
200% $50 $10
 
95% $250 $1
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  200% $50 $10
 
  85% $250 $10
 
  85% $200 $20
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  85% $250 $5  
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
  85% $50 $1
 
  200% $50 $10
 
  85% $200 $20
 
  95% $250 $1
 
  85% $100 $5
 
  85% $10 $1
 
  80% - 90% $250 $5
 
  80% $250 $25
 
Broker reviews Blacklist rating Trade now Early expiry Avg returns Min deposits Min trade Ratings Trade now
95% $250 $1
 
85% $10 $1
 
80% - 90% $250 $5
 
85% $50 $1
 

  1. The company demands you fax or mail identity verification paperwork before they pay out.

This is sometimes innocuous, but other times it points toward an identity theft scam.  Think about it for a moment.  You are purchasing a service online, and until your winnings become reasonably substantial, you are not much of a tax concern (think how high the threshold is for tax paperwork for PayPal or your e-wallet of choice).  You do not furnish a photo ID or a social security number or a driver’s license for most online purchases, do you?  Be very cautious about providing personal information like this to your broker.  Unless you strongly trust the broker’s reputation, you may want to avoid brokers that require this kind of information.

  1. Expiry times are unreliable.

A favorite scam of binary options brokers toward existing clientele involves “technical problems” with the website interface which result in trades expiring later than they are supposed to, generally at a loss.  Picture this:  You just entered into a binary options trade which is supposed to run several hours, ending of course at a very specific time.  When the clock reaches that time, you are in the money.  But for some inexplicable reason the clock continues to run past the appropriate time.  Thirty or sixty seconds later, the clock finally stops, and you are out of the money.

When you ask the broker what is going on and demand your promised payout, the broker points toward the terms of service and states they are not responsible for technical problems on the website which may have cost you money.

If you are gullible enough to consider this explanation, consider for a moment about whether such an error is even possible given what you know about the company.  What platform do they use?  Most brokers are white label companies which use software solutions provided by third parties (SpotOption being the most common one).  What technical problem would cause a clock to run half a minute over the intended expiry time?  It cannot be a problem with SpotOption—you already know SpotOption is reliable and no other brokers are having that problem.  But it cannot be a lag issue either, because lag would not cause the clock to keep counting.  Instead you would see it skip or jump, or tell you whether you won or lost the trade late.  But it would not keep you in the trade overtime, and count it out in front of you.

That is because this is not a technical error.  It is a deliberate form of fraud.  If it happens to you, your broker will probably tell you, “Everything is fixed now; it should never happen again.”  But be assured, it will happen again.  There is no reason to give anyone a second chance if this happens to you.

  1. The company is scamming other traders.

Pay attention to customer reviews. In many ways, they provide the only oversight available.  The majority of brokers are unregulated (those that are usually are regulated as gambling commissions, private banks, or so on).  If your broker is unregulated, it is especially important that you regularly look up third-party reviews online.  Are all reviews honest?  No—competitors may sometimes leave reviews designed to damage the reputations of completely trustworthy brokers.  The more you read, though, the better you will become at recognizing genuine reviews.  If a lot of traders are reporting scams by a company, and the reviews seem to be authentic, you will want to at least stay alert.  If you already are sensing issues with the broker yourself, it may be the confirmation you need to make your decision to jump ship and sign up with another company. You will know if a binary options broker is trust-worthy by using this guide.

  1. You cannot withdraw the money you invested.

If you are struggling to withdraw the money you have, you probably are going to want to find a new broker.  This can be the result of not having carefully read the terms and conditions, but it can also be the result of a scam—and sometimes terms and conditions can be used to justify online theft.  There are a couple of popular terms and conditions which may prevent you from withdrawing money:

  • You are below the minimum withdrawal threshold.

  • You have not met a minimum required trading turnover to withdraw any money from your account.

It is pretty standard for brokers to set a minimum withdrawal threshold.  This is less likely to indicate a scam, though brokers with unreasonably high thresholds should be avoided.  The second term is often harder to locate (it may not be in the FAQ, and may be buried in the fine print) and is more often indicative of a scam.  Most brokers will let you take your money back out of your account, as long as you are above the withdrawal threshold.  But some will force you to trade before you can withdraw any money, even your initial deposit.

Brokers get away with scams for several key reasons:

  • Lack of regulation.  Because binary options is unregulated right now as a market, there is almost no oversight on these companies.  Those who have registered as other types of financial entities are following rules, but it is up to you to familiarize yourself with them.

  • Traders let them get away with it.  Lots of newbie traders, excited to get going, will not read every word of the terms and conditions, and will not take the time to call companies to request more information.  This is a very serious mistake, since many brokers get away with their fraudulent behavior by covering themselves legally in their terms of service.  Do your research!

If you do start to suspect that you are the victim of a binary options fraud, it is important to act.  Withdraw your money if you can, report the business to applicable financial authorities or business regulatory agencies, and post a review online describing your experiences in detail.  You can help provide the oversight that is lacking by warning traders away from possible scams and toward more trustworthy binary options brokers.