CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 62% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Please be advised that our Client Portal is scheduled for essential maintenance this weekend from market close on Friday 5th April, 2024, and should be back up and running before markets open on Sunday 7th April, 2024.

We’re excited to share that we’re gearing up for an update to our Client Portal, aimed at improving your experience with us. Client Portal will be unavailable to you from market close on Friday 16th February, 2024, and should be back up and running before markets open on Sunday 18th February, 2024.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 62% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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20 Ways to Check If Your Broker Is Safe or a Scam

Use this 20-point checklist to evaluate whether the broker you choose to trade with is safe... or a scam.
businessman using a laptop doing an online checklist survey

For retail traders, global financial markets today have fewer barriers to entry than they did before. The spread of online brokerage services and the growing number of brokers in this domain mean that retail traders today can discover a number of online brokers by simply searching on their search engine of choice.

However, this increase in accessibility has also increased the risks that retail traders face today of trading with a scam broker. Forex trading scams have rocked this industry in recent years, leading to a crisis of trust.

At Hantec Markets, we recognise that while people still want to trade, finding a trustworthy and reliable broker can often be challenging.

Use this 20-point checklist to evaluate whether the broker you choose to trade with is safe… or a scam. This comprehensive guide will help you ask key questions you need to be asking when selecting a broker, so that you can trade with the safety that your broker is, indeed, reputable, established and secure.


1. Regulatory Compliance


Verify that your broker is regulated by a recognised financial authority locally or globally. This regulation ensures that the broker operates within established guidelines and safeguards your investments. Check their registration number and cross-reference it with the regulator’s website for confirmation. As part of the Hantec Group, Hantec Markets is proud to be a part of a brand that is regulated across the world, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Mauritius.


2. Reputation and Reviews


Researching the broker’s reputation can give you insights into their reliability and trustworthiness. Look for online reviews on various platforms such as forums (Trustpilot as an example), social media, and trading websites. Be cautious of reviews that seem overly positive or negative, as they may be biased or manipulated.


3. Contact Information


A legitimate broker should provide clear and accessible contact information, including a physical address, a working phone number, and a responsive email. Avoid brokers with vague contact details or only a P.O. box, as this could indicate a lack of transparency or legitimacy.


4. Background and History


Investigate how long the broker has been in business and whether they have a presence in multiple locations. A longer track record and broader presence often indicate stability and reliability in the industry.


5. Client Funds Segregation


Reliable brokers hold client funds in segregated accounts. Ensure that your broker separates your funds from their operational funds in segregated accounts. This protects your funds in the event of the broker’s insolvency or financial difficulties.


6. Account Security


Check if the broker uses strong encryption and security protocols to protect your personal and financial information. Be wary of brokers that allow clients to trade without or with minimal verification, as legitimate brokers will have stringent identity verification processes in place to safeguard your account from unauthorised access.


7. Trading Platform


The trading platform you trade on is your gateway to the markets, so it’s essential to ensure that it is reputable and reliable. Test the platform for functionality and user-friendliness to ensure it meets your trading needs.


8. Fees and Spreads


Review the broker’s fee structure, including spreads, commissions, and overnight financing rates. Be cautious of brokers with hidden fees or excessively high charges.


9. Withdrawal and Deposit Procedures


Verify the ease and transparency of depositing and withdrawing funds from your trading account. Scam brokers may make it difficult for you to access your money or use dubious payment methods.


10. Customer Support


Evaluate the responsiveness and helpfulness of the broker’s customer support team. Prompt and accurate assistance is crucial, especially during times of trading uncertainty or technical issues. At Hantec Markets, you can reach out to us through multiple ways, including via telephone, email, or our easy-to-access, 24/5 live customer support chat.


11. Transparency


Legitimate brokers will provide clear and detailed information about trading conditions, fees, and associated risks. Transparency is key to building trust and ensuring you make informed trading decisions.


12. Negative Balance Protection


Ensure the broker offers negative balance protection to prevent you from losing more than your initial deposit, protecting you from potential losses beyond your investment.


13. Trading Instruments


Confirm the variety of trading instruments available, including forex pairs, commodities, stocks, and indices. A diverse range of instruments allows you to diversify your trading portfolio and take advantage of various market opportunities.


14. Promotions and Bonuses


While promotions and bonuses can be enticing, be cautious of brokers offering incentives that claim will make you rich quickly. Unrealistic offers may indicate a potential scam.


15. Aggressive Sales Tactics


Watch out for brokers using high-pressure sales tactics or promising guaranteed profits. Legitimate brokers focus on providing accurate information and support rather than pushing you into trades or investments.


16. Terms and Conditions


Carefully read and understand the broker’s terms and conditions, especially regarding withdrawal policies and any hidden fees. Ensure that the terms are fair and transparent before opening an account.


17. Legal Disclaimers


Honest brokers will provide clear legal disclaimers outlining the risks involved in forex trading. Be wary of brokers downplaying these risks or making unrealistic promises of profits.


18. Demo Account


Take advantage of the broker’s demo account to familiarise yourself with their platform and trading conditions without risking real money. This allows you to test strategies and assess the platform’s suitability for your trading needs.


19. Language and Support


Ensure that the broker offers support and services in your preferred language, indicating their commitment to serving clients in your region or language preference.


20. Funding Methods and Payment Gateways


Check the availability of multiple funding methods, including bank transfers, credit/debit cards, and e-wallets. Scam brokers may limit your options, charge exorbitant fees, or ask you to fund your account through suspicious or discrete payment methods.


A key aspect of making informed decisions during your trading journey is to know how your broker operates and how reliable they can be. It means the difference between a fruitful or painful trading experience.

Prioritising factors such as regulatory compliance, reputation, security measures, transparency, and customer support can help you make a better-informed decision, mitigate potential risks involved, and ensure a positive trading experience.

Due diligence is your best defence, so find out as much as you can about your broker before you give them your information or funds.

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