Expats and Brit residents fall for binary trading scam

Published:  2 Aug at 6 PM
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Expats as well as British residents have lost all their savings to a binary options scam.

Eclipse Finance Ltd operated from a registered office in London’s East End district and claimed to be marketing an investment scheme based on binary option trading, a form of fixed odds betting on financial market movements. The term ‘binary option’ represents a financial option which pays out either a fixed sum or nothing. Trading online and operating from its London-based virtual office address, Eclipse persuaded potential investors in the UK and overseas to invest in the fraudulent scheme via an online website.

Claiming to be binary option traders, the scammers used high pressure sales tactics to get their hands on victims’ pension savings and investments, with misrepresentation as to returns a standard tactic. Money was taken from victims’ bank accounts without authorisation, with investors reporting to investigators their accounts had been drained without any explanation and the company unable to be contacted. At first, when investors complained, the crooks blamed the losses on hackers who’d invaded their system on two separate occasions, but further investigation could find no evidence of hacking.

According to investigation supervisor Irshard Mohammed, the crooks had simply stolen investors’ cash, pocketed it and disappeared without trace. According to Mohammed, no actual trading had ever taken place with the perpetrators unable to be found and all investments lost as a result. As part of the investigation, the company was wound up in the High Court, with investors losing at least £50,000 each. The Financial Conduct Agency has posted warnings on its website regarding the dangers of binary trading, although none actually took place during the scam.
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