Binary Options Trading In Israel – Legit or Not

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Binary Options Trading In Israel – Legit or Not?

There’s no harm done when we (legit binary options traders) expose those who are trying to make the market filthy and unbearable for all.

Newbies in the industry easily give in for these kinds of scams and our aim is to totally eliminate and possibly wipe them out by exposing their dark sides so that every level of trader will have first hand information on how these binary options scams operate.

There are many legitimate binary options brokers out there as well as a hand full of scam brokers and fake signal services.

These fake brokers and signal services are just trying to ruin the good reputation people have about the industry by promising mouth-watering bonuses (for brokers) and unimaginable profits and returns (for signal services) when you join their train.

List of Scam Binary Options Brokers. *(Do Not Register An Account With Any of Them)*
1. OptionsXO
2. OptioNow
3. EZ Binary
4. XB24
5. Safe24Options
6. TraderXP
7. Banc De Swiss
8. OptionsXO Amber Options
9. Vault Options
10. Option Rally​
11. Royal De Bank
12. Golden Binary
13. OptionMaker

And List of Fake Signal Providers/Services *(Do Not Subscribe to or Join Any of them)*

1. Hercules Profit Pro
2. Insured Profits
3. Tokyo Bot
4. Wealthy Trader
5. Legal Insider Bot
6. The $100K Club
7. The 1 Percent Club
8. Daily Binary Profits V7
9. The Covert Society
10. Oz Robot
11. Golden Goose Method
12. Binary Chaos
13. Commodity Robot
14. German Binary Matrix Pro
15. Millionaires Club
16. Safe Trader App
17. Secret Millionaire Society
18. My Cash Bot
19. Daily Results
20. The Binary Redemption
21. Swiss Binary Robot
22. Secret Wealth App
23. 2020 Millionaire Launch
24. Crisis Killer
25. Desert Millionaire
26. Ataraxia 7

Why all these Scams?

As the Binary Options method of trading is still fairly new, it has become a fertile ground for scammers to thrive.

This is because many people have little or no prior knowledge on how trading binary options works and so easily fall for scam products.
Being more in number than the real brokers and signal services, it is also relatively simple for any newbie to fall for these scams.

Binary Options is gaining popularity day by day and it’s opposition, the Forex market is dwindling as time goes by (See images below).

So, this is why we can see more scams pop-up every day in binary options niche rather than Forex.

Many traders have unknowingly fallen into the hands of either scam brokers or signal services all in the name of “trading binary options profitably”.

No matter the type of broker, all of them would require you deposit in order to start trading but only legitimate brokers will allow you to withdraw your funds without any stress.

The scam broker does almost everything a legitimate broker would do in order to satisfy their clients except of course, during withdrawal of funds.
One sure way to detect binary options scams is to conduct a search online on any search engine with the keywords “Company name + scam” or “Company name + reviews” without quotes.

Read as many reviews and testimonials as possible from various clients expressing their views about the Company on different review sites before buying any binary software or depositing funds into any broker.
Other minor qualities that may help you suspect the Company in question are:

1. Lack of good customer support
2. Low quality website design
3. Suspicious video testimonials
4. Non-secured website (i.e. Absence of SSL certified website)
5. Not Regulated by well-known Organizations
6. Mouth-Watering Bonuses

1. New Domain Name
2. Alexa Ranking
3. Domain Age

1. Don’t Deposit more than you can afford to lose with any broker. Always start with the minimum amount the broker recommends so as not to lose much assuming they were to be scam.
2. Always research online for a particular broker or signal service before joining.
3. Even if your trading is good and you’re making nice profits, always do a test withdrawal before depositing more funds. This is to verify the credibility of the broker.
4. Do not buy any binary options signal software without being confident that the product actually works. Please always visit this page to find the updated list of scam products in the market.
5. If a program looks too good to be true, conduct further research to verify the authenticity of the program.
6. Do not give out your social security number or any other sensitive information like PayPal email and password to unknown persons even if they were requested by the Company itself.
7. Logically, you should run away from sites claiming you could make up to $1 Million per day trading binary options
8. If you’ve been scammed and you have proofs to show that you you didn’t receive the services promised by the vendor, you can file a dispute against them with either PayPal or your Credit Card Company depending on the method of Payment.

If you know of any Binary Options Scam Product, Broker or Software, Kindly let us know so we can update our list and help others.

6 Likes

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Nobody: 10:59pm On Oct 12, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Trut( m ): 11:04pm On Oct 12, 2020

Please, how do I know the name of the broker I am dealing with. because I just opened an account with one and have deposited money twice with them because i have all my investment twice. I beginning to suspect them. Please I need more info. my email is [email protected]

1 Like

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Ayo001: 11:10pm On Oct 12, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Nobody: 11:29pm On Oct 12, 2020

Must you quote the whole post before you comment? Some people sef ehn.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 1:17am On Oct 13, 2020

Please, how do I know the name of the broker I am dealing with. because I just opened an account with one and have deposited money twice with them because i have all my investment twice. I beginning to suspect them. Please I need more info. my email is [email protected]

Are you talking about a binary options broker? I wonder how you can deposit money into a broker you don’t know the name. Anyway, to know the broker’s name, visit their site to find more information about the company or contact their live support and ask of the company name.

Before you deposit money into any broker, make sure you apply the rules i put forward in the post above because there are many scam brokers and signal providers flying around the internet looking for who will be their next victim

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 1:29am On Oct 13, 2020

Ayo001:
Thanks for this info. Same with football betting. People are heavily losing money to the likes of Nairabet, 1960bet, Merrybet and co. Betting at all is for the rich.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 4:34pm On Oct 14, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by lordaustin( m ): 4:53pm On Oct 14, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 5:05pm On Oct 14, 2020

Unfortunately, they are only few in the whole binary options market.

I can only recommend those ones I’ve personally tested and are sure it works. They are: Mike’ Auto Trader (Free), Option Bot 2.0, Trade4me.

2 Likes

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by isaco( m ): 10:28am On Oct 19, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Piro4rl( m ): 11:07am On Oct 19, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by kunletoks( m ): 5:35pm On Oct 19, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 7:21pm On Oct 19, 2020

isaco:
Thanks for these infor
Pls do u know genuine online forex signal privider.
Is ther any?

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 7:28pm On Oct 19, 2020

kunletoks:
I want to learn binary option. I have some experience in forex trading. Pls how can I get started.
Thanks.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by fxstory( m ): 7:41pm On Oct 19, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by maryjames9( m ): 10:50pm On Oct 19, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by jamace( m ): 11:31pm On Oct 19, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 12:44am On Oct 21, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by ecrestglobal( m ): 6:30am On Oct 21, 2020

Good day all,
permit me to paste this here.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by seuntoyo: 5:47pm On Oct 21, 2020

kunletoks:
I want to learn binary option. I have some experience in forex trading. Pls how can I get started.
Thanks.

Hello traders, am sure some of us are really making profits trading binary options. I was here some time ago to share a secret indicator code which I used to rip a lot of profit trading binary option daily and only few people benefited from it. Anyways am here again to share a custom MT4 indicator to only 5 serious traders here. The indicator uses the Fibonacci principle of support and resistance line. It gives you spot for a Rise signal (green arrow) and fall signal (red arrow). In short you can see below the number of trades I got within this short period trading today below…
[img][/img][img][/img]

I enjoyed trading binary options daily because this indicator makes it fun for me. I will be giving it out to only 5 serious trader that want to boost their profits daily. It goes for a token of 5k. Contact [email protected] if interested. Please I will not be giving it out from Friday 24th October; I only want few serious traders to have a feel of this awesome indicator. So hurry while am still happy sharing it.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by seuntoyo: 5:52pm On Oct 21, 2020

Hello traders, am sure some of us are really making profits trading binary options. I was here some time ago to share a secret indicator code which I used to rip a lot of profit trading binary option daily and only few people benefited from it. Anyways am here again to share a custom MT4 indicator to only 5 serious traders here. The indicator uses the Fibonacci principle of support and resistance line. It gives you spot for a Rise signal (green arrow) and fall signal (red arrow). In short you can see below the number of trades I got within this short period trading today below…

I enjoyed trading binary options daily because this indicator makes it fun for me. I will be giving it out to only 5 serious trader that want to boost their profits daily. It goes for a token of 5k. Contact [email protected] if interested. Please I will not be giving it out from Friday 24th October; I only want few serious traders to have a feel of this awesome indicator. So hurry while am still happy sharing it.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 6:03pm On Oct 21, 2020

Hello traders, am sure some of us are really making profits trading binary options. I was here some time ago to share a secret indicator code which I used to rip a lot of profit trading binary option daily and only few people benefited from it. Anyways am here again to share a custom MT4 indicator to only 5 serious traders here. The indicator uses the Fibonacci principle of support and resistance line. It gives you spot for a Rise signal (green arrow) and fall signal (red arrow). In short you can see below the number of trades I got within this short period trading today below…
[img][/img][img][/img]

I enjoyed trading binary options daily because this indicator makes it fun for me. I will be giving it out to only 5 serious trader that want to boost their profits daily. It goes for a token of 5k. Contact [email protected] if interested. Please I will not be giving it out from Friday 24th October; I only want few serious traders to have a feel of this awesome indicator. So hurry while am still happy sharing it.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 6:03pm On Oct 21, 2020

seuntoyo:
Hello traders, am sure some of us are really making profits trading binary options. I was here some time ago to share a secret indicator code which I used to rip a lot of profit trading binary option daily and only few people benefited from it. Anyways am here again to share a custom MT4 indicator to only 5 serious traders here. The indicator uses the Fibonacci principle of support and resistance line. It gives you spot for a Rise signal (green arrow) and fall signal (red arrow). In short you can see below the number of trades I got within this short period trading today below…

I enjoyed trading binary options daily because this indicator makes it fun for me. I will be giving it out to only 5 serious trader that want to boost their profits daily. It goes for a token of 5k. Contact [email protected] if interested. Please I will not be giving it out from Friday 24th October; I only want few serious traders to have a feel of this awesome indicator. So hurry while am still happy sharing it.

Please open your own thread. Don’t litter mine with your offers.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 6:12pm On Oct 21, 2020

jonnyboi:
This is a wonderful eye opener to those who are still new as well as old traders too. What about AZBINARY.COM are they ok? though i trade with binary.com and i have withdrawn over $2000 from them. I have good trading tool as you can see below

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by kunletoks( m ): 10:08pm On Oct 21, 2020

It is easy to get started since you have some experience already from fx trading. You can use binary option signal providers for beginners to get started while you learn the main startegies used for trading at binaryoptionschannel.com that is if you want trade all by yourself.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 12:28am On Oct 22, 2020

Pls which broker do you use.
I will like to demo trade before going live.
How do you trade, do you use signal generating any or u study uur cchart.
Thanks

I use BeeOptions broker. I don’t think you’ll be able to demo trade as most brokers don’t allow demo trading. However, you can still search for a broker that allows vtrading with virtual funds, am sure you will find one.

I use signal providers for trading and not chart reading.

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Guarantor( m ): 1:31am On Oct 22, 2020 Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 10:53am On Oct 22, 2020

Guarantor:
@ OP Sir,
You have really down a good work here, i am totally impressed, May God Continue To Bless U.
I have been scammed a lot both directly and indirectly as a result i have decided to learn this binary trading but i am a complete novice, i have not ever place a trade. How can you teach,mentor, guide and guard me?
I have read about the three tested softwares how can you assist me to use them.
Kindly include binary goal broker and getrichinseconds signal provider. Beware of Stan Lutz and Richard Morrison.
Please can i have your contact?
My mail is [email protected]
I really need your help and assistance urgently.

Thanks for that nice update. I’ll look into the signal providers you’ve provided and once they fit into any of the scam descriptions above, i will add them to the list.

You can always PM me or use my contact details located here for other enquiries.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by kunletoks( m ): 11:52am On Oct 22, 2020

I use BeeOptions broker. I don’t think you’ll be able to demo trade as most brokers don’t allow demo trading. However, you can still search for a broker that allows vtrading with virtual funds, am sure you will find one.

I use signal providers for trading and not chart reading.

Re: Do Not Fall For These Binary Options Trading Scams (updated List) by Val22( m ): 12:10pm On Oct 22, 2020

Your website is down. I can’t get your contact.

Are these binary options trading programs legit or just a scam ?

Wiki User
November 08, 2020 8:35PM

Most binary options programs are legit. Some are not reliable

and should be avoided, but most are good. One should make a

research and read broker reviews before choosing a binary options

Brutally Honest Review of IQ Option – IQ Option Exposed!

A while ago I wrote my first review of IQ Option, but since then a lot has changed. That is the reason why I am updating this review of IQ Option. Back when I wrote my first review of IQ Option, they were mainly a binary option broker, but now they offer other ‘investment products’ as well.

Binary options are a blatant scam and therefore, I couldn’t recommend IQ Option back then. The question is, has this changed or is IQ Option still an untrustworthy, shady and scammy broker?

Regulations

Let’s start with regulations. Regulations are the most important aspect to look at when looking at brokers. Without regulations, a broker isn’t trustworthy at all.

The good news is that IQ Option is regulated. But the bad news is that they are regulated and licensed by CySEC. CySEC is a regulator based in Cyprus and therefore, this regulation isn’t really trustworthy.

Good legitimate brokers are usually regulated by trustworthy regulatory firms like the SEC or FINRA.

Features

I won’t go into too much detail with all the different available features at IQ Option because this would be a waste of time. Here is a brief list of available features:

‘Investment’ Products: Let’s start with some ‘investment’ products. IQ Option offers stocks, forex, cryptocurrencies, and ETFs. Sounds great you may think? However, they only offer these in form of CFDs. I will tell you what exactly this means in a few moments.

Furthermore, IQ Option offers binary/digital options, another illegitimate product.

Multipliers: IQ Option’s ‘multipliers’ aren’t anything else than leverage. The leverage ratios vary a lot. As far as I know, the maximum available leverage ratio is 1 to 300. This allows you to lose your money 300-times as fast as you usually would.

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Mobile App: IQ Option also offers a mobile app or at least they used to. I am not 100% sure if they still have one. Their mobile app got banned from Apple’s App Store because even Apple knows that binary options are a scam.

Education’: Furthermore, IQ Option has a few educational series on their website in which they show you how you can lose your money the fastest possible way.

Technical Indicators/Charts: Just like every broker platform, IQ Option also offers customizable charts and technical indicators. These exist to create the illusion that you can make money with IQ Option by using some fancy indicators and charts.

Practice/Demo Accounts: If you don’t feel like losing any real money yet, you could also try your luck with IQ Option’s virtual accounts. In these accounts, you can gamble with virtual money. Ideally, these demo accounts make you think you actually stand a chance with real money.

Traderoom: This is a chatroom in which other fake accounts tell you how to lose your money the fastest way. Furthermore, you can read about all the fake accounts that are making tons of money with IQ Option in this chatroom.

Competitions: IQ Option also hosts trading competitions. These competitions work more or less in the following way: 1. You deposit money to a designated competition account, 2. You lose the money as fast as possible.

24/7 ‘Support’: IQ Option also offers 24/7 support. So if you have questions about why you can’t withdraw any money, this is the place to go.

Smooth and Easy to use platform: Generally speaking, IQ Option’s platform is quite simple and easy to use. This means that the platform makes it as easy and as straightforward as possible to lose your money.

Very wide Bid/Ask spreads: Another thing that makes it even less likely to ever make money with IQ Option is their really wide Bid/Ask spreads. Due to their wide spreads, you will have to buy far above the current market price of an asset and sell far below the current market price of an asset. So picking the right direction isn’t enough to make money. The asset has to go far in that direction just to break even.

By now there are probably even more unnecessary and useless features.

Is IQOption a Scam?

I don’t want to waste your time with tons of unnecessary information. Therefore, I will get straight to the point with this.

IQ Option is NOT a legitimate broker.

Here are 5 reasons why this is the case:

  1. Binary Options:
    If you didn’t know yet, I am sorry to burst your bubble. But binary options are a huge scam. That is also the reason why binary options are getting banned in countless countries. So if a broker offers a scammy product that makes the broker just as much a scam. The fact that IQ Option offers (or offered) binary options is enough to make them an illegitimate broker! If you want to learn about all the reasons why binary options aren’t legitimate investment products, you should check out my binary options review!
  2. Regulation:
    Like I said before, regulations are one of the most important aspects of a broker. A sketchy regulation company based in Cyprus does not make a broker legitimate. This is another reason that is enough to not recommend IQ Option.
  3. Leverage:
    Leverage per se isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, if a broker offers insane leverage ratios of 1:300 like IQ Option, that is a very shady thing. Just think about it yourself. Why would a firm allow you to borrow 300 times your money to trade with? Because they want you to lose your money as fast as possible!
  4. CFDs:
    What is a CFD? CFD stands for ‘Contract for Difference’ and they are an Over-The-Counter (OTC) product. This means that IQ Option will be your counterparty when you trade CFDs with them. Do you see any conflict of interest here? If your broker takes the opposite side of your trade, they want you to lose. CFDs are just a better version of binary options. They make the trader feel like he/she is trading real products, but in reality, he/she isn’t. If a broker says they offer stocks, Forex, cryptocurrencies and more, but only in form of CFDs, they aren’t legitimate.
  5. Can’t withdraw:
    There have been countless incidents of people not being able to withdraw their winnings. So even if you are lucky enough to win some money, it isn’t guaranteed that you will be able to withdraw that money.

So one more time, is IQOption a scam?

Yes!

Conclusion

In conclusion, IQ Option is an untrustworthy, illegitimate, shady, sketchy, scammy… broker that I can’t recommend!

You may ask yourself why I am the only person on the internet saying this. The reason is that 99% of all other sites aren’t being genuine. Why aren’t they being genuine?

Because IQ Option is paying them to be dishonest. IQ Option and most other binary option brokers for that matter offer very lucrative affiliate programs. So these sites promote brokers like IQ Option and earn juicy commissions every time when someone signs up to IQ Option.

Sadly, most people aren’t smart enough to see through this bullshit. So please do yourself the huge favor and avoid IQ Option and any other (former) binary option brokers. Don’t fall for the lies!

I hate it when people think that binary options and brokers like IQ Option are legitimate because of all the shady promotional tactics.

I truly don’t want you to be the next victim of these scams. But it is only you that can decide this. So make the correct decision and don’t deposit any money to these firms.

Binary options and companies like IQ Option just shed a bad light on the financial industry, on trading, and on real options. Options are real and legitimate investment vehicles. Sadly, many people fail to distinguish between real options and binary options even though there is a huge difference. Normal, vanilla options are legit, whereas binary options aren’t. If anyone tells you otherwise, he/she either is a binary option broker, affiliated with a binary option broker or just stupid.

If you want to learn how to trade real options, you should definitely check out my free beginner course !

Recently IQ Options sketchy business model got harmed due to EU’s new ESMA regulations . But I am confident that IQ Option and most other similar brokers will come up with new products (that aren’t affected by these regulations) to steal money from their clients.

Thanks for taking the time and going through this review of IQ Option. Have you had any bad (or good) experiences with IQ Option or other similar brokers?

Please let me know in the comment section below!

Why hasn’t Israel shut down binary options scam?

Five years ago, Einat Wilf realized forex/binary options was, at best, an industry founded on illegal gambling. But she was outflanked by lobbyists, and defeated by regulators and her Knesset colleagues — whose inability to grapple with the complexities has echoes of ‘The Big Short’

By SIMONA WEINGLASS April 4, 2020, 10:19 am

The Times of Israel last month published an investigation into Israel’s forex and binary options industry, revealing that much of the industry is fraudulent — a vast, flourishing world of thievery. In the best-case scenario, companies offer gambling disguised as an investment, while in many cases, once customers deposit money they will simply never see any of it again. In the vast majority of companies, the customer’s loss is the company’s revenue. Involving over 100 companies and many thousands of employees, the industry is estimated to turn over hundreds of millions of dollars a year, at least.

As one former retention agent at a large, Cyprus-regulated binary options firm in Ramat Gan told The Times of Israel last week, “85 percent of our customers lose everything, 9 percent manage to withdraw the last 50 or 100 euros of their original deposit, and 1 percent actually win something.” And on the extremely rare occasion that a customer wins more than once, he said, “the company tells them to take their money and f*ck off.”

With hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of victims worldwide in the decade or so over which it has grown to horrifying proportions, why has this corrupt business model, which sprouted on the margins of Israel’s high-tech sector, been allowed to thrive? Why have Israel’s regulators not closed it down? Why have Israel’s politicians not demanded that they do so? Put another way, why has Israel turned a continued blind eye to the fleecing by Israeli con artists of would-be investors around the world?

In fact, there have been a few attempts in the Knesset to shut down the forex and binary options scam. But all of them, sources said, were stymied by lobbyists who managed to persuade MKs and regulators that the industry is legitimate.

Einat Wilf, a former Knesset member for Labor and Ehud Barak’s short-lived Independence Party, put forward a bill in 2020 that would have declared the entire “forex” industry, even then estimated to bring in revenues of hundreds of millions of US dollars per year, to be a form of gambling and therefore illegal.

“Forex companies are selling gambling services disguised as investments,” Wilf wrote in a letter to then-banking supervisor Dudu Zaken, which she showed to The Times of Israel last week. “Their customers are lured by fraudulent promises of profits, yet in the end, everyone loses their entire investment to the high fees charged by the ‘house.’ The losses often reach astronomical sums and even end up destroying families.”

In fact, Wilf argued at the time, “these companies are worse than online gambling sites because they misrepresent themselves as legitimate financial firms, thus causing ordinary people who would normally shy away from gambling to let down their guard and put down astronomical sums of money.”

Wilf remembered that regulators with the Israel Securities Authority were shocked by her statements, and reluctant to believe them.

“My view was considered very extreme, very out of left field. The Israel Securities Authority thought of the forex companies as somewhat legitimate and felt they just needed better regulation. Their view was to try to work with the companies,” Wilf recalled.

Representing the forex and binary options industry during discussions in the Finance Committee, where she sought to advance her legislation, were representatives from two forex companies, Ava and GoForex, and the Israel Trading Arena Association, as well as numerous lobbyists. Wilf said one of the industry’s main arguments was that there were both legitimate and fraudulent companies and that the legitimate players welcomed regulation in order to weed out the bad actors.

“Their whole positioning was ‘Yes, regulation is good. There’s a legit part of the industry and a scam part, and regulation will help rule out the real scammers. But the regulation has to be fine-tuned so it doesn’t hurt legitimate forex trading.’”

But Wilf did not accept this argument because, she felt, the entire premise of Israel’s online forex trading companies was to lure and manipulate unsuspecting targets into gambling.

“There were no good ones and bad ones,” said Wilf, who holds an MBA from France’s INSEAD and has worked both in venture capital and as a McKinsey consultant. “They’re all bad. They’re all scams.”

She said that the Israel Securities Authority and other Knesset members viewed her concern as odd and far from the mainstream, and showed an inability to grapple with the cynical complexities of the scam’s operation.

“It really required a lot of knowledge and understanding of fraud and finance to understand the extent of the scam,” she recalled. “Very few people have that knowledge. The Israel Securities Authority wanted to emphasize things like proper reporting, no conflict of interest, stability. And we kept saying all of that is bullshit. We don’t want to regulate.”

Did you want to shut the whole industry down? “As close as possible to that.”

“We wanted to outlaw this under the existing law against gambling. The regulators wanted to leave it as something [to be regulated] as a financial product. It was hard to make them understand that this was criminal.” Asked Wilf, “Have you seen the movie, The Big Short ?”

A short history of forex and binary options

Roey S., a high-tech veteran with knowledge of the forex industry, said that originally, before the advent of the Internet, the term forex simply referred to the buying and selling of currencies.

“I buy dollars and a month later I sell them. This is a type of contract called a future and it’s sold on stock exchanges and in banks.”

Roey explained that traditionally, forex trading was an entirely legitimate way for banks or large companies to manage their risks. But around the year 2005 or 2006, he said, a bunch of online forex trading platforms began sprouting up in Israel offering forex trading to private individuals.

“Banks don’t market options on foreign currency to ordinary customers. It’s something where if you’re the CFO of a company and you know that this year you have income of $10 million and expenses of NIS 30 million, then you buy futures on $10 million.”

Roey said that what the retail forex brokers — those who began offering trades to private customers — did at the time was to offer leverage, so if you put down $100, you could buy 100 times that, or $10,000, of a kind of fictional money for the purposes of the trade. If the dollar goes down by one percent, even for a fraction of a second, you lose. The company sells your position at a loss and closes it.

On the other hand, if the dollar goes up by 1 percent, you double your money. The main problem, said Roey, is the fees the companies charge. Many will tell customers, for instance, that they charge 0.1 percent per trade. “But after the leverage, if you multiply it by 100, the fee is actually 10 percent of your money. If you put down $1,000, you are charged a fee of $100 from the get-go, so you’re left with $900.”

Roey said that Israeli forex companies often encouraged their customers to do short-term trades, taking positions that last a day or a week. Because only a handful of financial geniuses are able to predict the movement of currencies, a person’s odds of being right are no better than random, he noted. “After 10 trades you’ve lost all your money. With a fee of 10 percent per transaction your money is bound to disappear; there’s not much you can do.”

According to Roey, Israelis did not invent retail forex. But around 2005-6 they began to market it very aggressively to clients in Israel and abroad.

“They used very aggressive sales tactics, targeting poor people and people who have no idea what they’re doing. It’s worse than gambling because people don’t understand that they’re gambling. They think it’s an investment, with low fees. They think it all makes sense, but they discover after a few months that their money has disappeared.”

Roey said that, when initially confronted by Israel’s securities regulators, forex companies defended their operations by saying that any government interference might disrupt legitimate forex trading, the kind done by banks and large companies. But it is very rare that a private individual would have any legitimate use for foreign currency futures, he said — perhaps in a case where a person pays rent in dollars but earns money in shekels.

“Forex companies will point to the one person in 1,000 who might use forex to protect herself from risk in her rental contract. They use this excuse to market it to the other 99.9 percent.”

Summarized Roey: “They find the weakest people in the world, and sell them illusions, tell them they can make 100-percent profits. I met a woman who was proud that people in Darfur were trading forex with her. Some customers put their last money on this in the hope of getting out of poverty.”

Binary options

Unlike retail forex, said Roey, binary options may have been an Israeli invention, at least in the way it is offered by online trading platforms here.

“Over time the companies tried to find more and more things that would interest people. There is nothing special about currencies. You can gamble on anything. So some companies started selling futures on oil and gold with the same 100x leverage — which just shows you how little it has to do with hedging or risk management.”

Roey said the forex companies had encountered two problems. First, “the whole idea of leverage and fractions of percentage points confused people. It caused a lot of complaints.”

By contrast, binary options, he said, was a simplified, easier-to-understand version of what was essentially the same scheme. “If the price goes up, you earn this; if it goes down, you lose this.”

Second, to make more money and save on labor costs, forex companies were eager to push customers toward shorter trading cycles.

“The shorter the gambling cycle, the faster you take all of the victim’s money. With forex, people could take positions that lasted a week or a month. With time they would get addicted and start to take positions of two days. But binary options was faster.”

Roey said he first started seeing binary options in Israel around 2020. Asked if he is aware of binary options companies that fix the results of the trade as described to The Times of Israel by multiple employees of the industry, Roey replied, “I am not aware of companies that fake the results of the gamble. It’s unnecessary. It’s such an efficient money-making machine even if the odds are 50-50.”

Gambling or not?

On November 14, 2020, the Knesset Finance Committee debated Wilf’s proposed law, and the discussion quickly centered on whether forex trading should be defined as gambling or not.

“There is a difference between speculation and gambling,” chimed in then-MK Zevulun Orlev of the National Religious Party. “With speculation, a person thinks they will achieve the result they want.”

“Many gamblers think that, too,” replied Wilf.

“No, the definition of gambling is that you enter it and you have no idea what the result will be.”

“In forex, the private investor has no way of knowing the result,” Wilf countered.

“That’s subjective,” said Orlev.

“No, it’s objective that the expected returns for a private investor in forex is zero.”

Why was this important? The Times of Israel spoke to a professional options trader and asked what is and isn’t fraudulent in the legitimate trading world. Isn’t the entire stock market a bit like gambling?

“If a company finds a way to make a customer lose reliably, as a business model, I can’t understand that as anything other than cheating the client,” he said.

But on April 24, 2020, Wilf received a letter from the banking supervisor at the Bank of Israel, Dudu Zaken.

“We share your concerns about the use of foreign exchange markets for gambling, and about the dishonest conduct of some of the players in this arena. However, we do not think this activity should be [reclassified as gambling].”

Zaken’s letter goes on to say that the Bank of Israel believes regulation should be used to rein in practices of non-legitimate players in the field, and that companies should be required to obtain licenses from the Israel Securities Authority.

Is binary options the only problem?

On Sunday, April 3, a spokeswoman for the Israel Securities Authority said that it was moving to prohibit Israeli online trading companies from offering binary options to customers in Israel. The ISA’s Itzik Shurki had said last month that “with binary options we’ve already informed the companies that our intention is probably not to approve this product. Its basis is problematic. Because ultimately — I don’t want to use the word ‘gambling’ because it is a financial product — but in the way it is offered and in the short time frame, and with all its complexity, in our view it brings it closer to a guessing game than a financial product where you can evaluate its worth.”

The ISA is also promising tighter regulation of other financial instruments, like retail forex and CFDs. But these “trades” will not be outlawed — even if they are used in schemes where the company plays the role of the “house” and has arranged the trading so that it cannot lose.

Worse still, the prohibition and the promised tighter regulation do not apply to non-Israeli customers — who are the overwhelming majority of the scam victims. As of this writing, an estimated 5,000-10,000 employees of forex and binary options companies continue to ply their wares to customers abroad, with either no regulation or much-criticized regulation by countries like Cyprus.

Wilf believes the Knesset and ISA failed to outlaw forex in 2020-12 because they did not fully understand the problem, and that they still have not internalized the crime even as it has metastasized and deepened in the years since.

“They seemed not to understand the extent to which this is really a scam and they seemed to be buying the arguments that if they were to regulate this effectively, it would somehow damage legitimate foreign exchange trading.”

Asked if she thought some people had been paid off by the industry, Wilf replied, “No, no, there was just a real sense that they didn’t get it.”

A conspiracy of silence?

Ariel Marom, a Russian-Israeli whistle-blower who lobbied the Knesset two years later (after Wilf had lost her Knesset seat) to outlaw an industry he described as “economic terrorism,” takes a more conspiratorial view.

“The MKs in the Finance Committee preferred lobbyists of private companies over the Israeli public, which is no surprise. Some of the MKs are connected to these companies, they have relatives or business partners who are involved, and benefit financially from the industry,” he charged in an interview last week.

In 2020, when he was alerting the public to the extent of fraud in the forex and binary options industry, he sent letters to 30 Knesset members from every party. “The only person who responded saying she supported me was (Labor MK) Shelly Yachimovich. All the others were silent,” he said.

“Many people compare forex to a casino,” Marom wrote in his November 2020 letter to the Knesset Finance Committee, “but it’s worse than a casino. A casino hands you your winnings immediately. Forex companies — and I’m talking about most of them — simply do not allow people to withdraw money.”

In addition, Marom said, most forex and binary options companies engage in fraudulent practices like rigging the trades, so that your odds of winning any particular bet are 45 percent or 30 percent as opposed to 50-50.

As a result, whereas an Israeli bank has profits of 10 percent, Marom said, binary options companies often have profits of 90 percent.

Tough love

Jenna P., an ex-employee of several binary options companies, contacted The Times of Israel to describe her experience working in customer service at an unregulated firm.

“Customers would send me screenshots of our site and Bloomberg at the same time, and I saw that the numbers were different. I would get hundreds of emails: Europeans, Asians and Africans. There were threatening emails, begging emails, people saying ‘I have no money, I have no way to feed my children, please give me my money back.’”

“Sorry,” Jenna’s boss would dismiss the pleas. “Tough love. They have to learn their lesson.”

Said Roey: “If the industry were transparent, and people truly knew what their chances were of winning, if they knew precisely what percentage of people win and lose and understood the fees, all the companies would disappear overnight.”

The required transparency, however, would require Knesset legislation or a more rigorous approach from the regulators that addresses the milking of overseas victims.

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