How to Read Binary Brokers Terms and Conditions

Let’s look at some Terms & Conditions in order to understand in practical terms.

In order to speed up and simplify the analysis, copy and paste the Terms in MS Word, and look for the keywords “withdraw” and “bonus”, and you will find the most delicate and important sections for you.

But first let’s look at how to understand the location of the legal office and the competent jurisdiction.

Broker’s legal head office

If you want to know where the legal office of the broker is located, not always the address indicated in the “contacts” section is the legal address, because for marketing purposes the address mentioned could be the one of the call center or, even more frequently, only the phone numbers, email addresses, IM and online chat tools are shown. In order to know without doubt the legal jurisdiction of the broker (and of the disputes arising between the broker and the customers), you have to look in the Terms & Conditions, and see if within the first clauses the corporate name and the address of the broker are published; if in the Terms & Conditions this information is not given, then it is necessary to look at the end of Terms & Conditions and find at least the legal jurisdiction competent in case of legal disputes arising between the broker and the customers: you won’t know the precise address but at least the country where the broker is located.

Here are a couple of examples.

In the first, the Terms & Conditions of the broker indicate precisely corporate name (that we have hidden) and legal address.

“1. This Agreement is entered into by [broker name] registered under the laws of _The British Virgin Islands having its registered office at [broker’s address] (hereinafter referred to as: the “Company”) and yourself (hereinafter referred to as: “you” or “Customer”) (In this Agreement the Company and you may be referred to collectively as the: “Parties”).”

In the second, only the jurisdiction competent for legal disputes is indicated (Cyprus), which means that the broker is legally located in Cyprus.

12 Law and Jurisdiction

The laws of the state of Cyprus shall govern the use of the Site and all its consequences including the Terms of Use. The competent court in Larnaca, Cyprus shall have sole jurisdiction over any matter involving use of the Site.”

Now let’s proceed with the two most delicate point of the Terms & Conditions: the withdrawal process and the restrictions attached to the bonus.

Withdrawal process

With “withdraw” you will get also “withdrawal”, “withdrawing” etc. In these sections you will find the conditions of the withdrawal procedure: documents to be submitted, data verification process by the broker for security purposes, number of days the broker reserves for the whole process, the ways and the fees of the money transfer from the broker to the credit card or the bank account of the trader. It is important to know that the data and personal documents controls are necessary for the anti-laundering laws, and that for the same reasons the broker will transfer to the credit card, from which the first deposit originated, an amount not higher that the deposits and will transfer the excess amount to the bank account of the trader. All this means that the broker must accurately control the trader identity and the bank account to be credited. Usually, from these sections you can see brokers who want a fair number of days to perform the security controls and brokers who take advantage of the need to control the data and require up to 15 to 20 days before transferring the money. Also the withdrawal fees differ a lot among brokers, and also this must be taken into consideration in selecting the broker.

Bonuses

The sections concerning the “bonus” keyword are even more important, because they list the conditions and the contractual limits binding the customers when they accept the bonuses.

Case 1

“8 SPECIAL OFFERS, BENEFITS AND BONUSES

8.2 Unless stated otherwise in the terms of the offer, a precondition for making withdrawals after using the bonus/benefit is to buy options of 15 times the amount of the bonus/benefit.

8.4 The bonuses/benefits must be used within the period defined in the details of the special offer. Should the bonus/benefit fail to be used within this time frame, the bonus/benefit will be withdrawn from the client’s account.

8.5 Once receiving the bonuses/benefits, the client has 3 (three) calendar months to complete the total amount of investments required as a precondition for withdrawal. If the required total amount of investments is not reached during this time period, the company will withdraw the bonuses/benefits funds from the client’s account according to its discretion.”

Under these conditions, in the presence of a bonus, if the value of the transactions do not reach 15 times the value of the bonus within 3 calendar month, only the bonus value is at risk and can be canceled by the broker from the account, but the investor is free to withdraw the available money on the account; clearly he will not be able to withdraw the value of the bonus, or part of it.

Case 2

Special Offers, Benefits & Bonuses

PLEASE READ ALL TERMS & CONDITIONS BELOW BEFORE ACCEPTING A BONUS. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ACCEPT A BONUS. A TRADING BONUS IS OPTIONAL FOR ALL ACCOUNT HOLDERS. EVERY BONUS REQUIRES A TRADING TURNOVER BEFORE ANY WITHDRAWAL IS MADE BY THE ACCOUNT HOLDER. BY ACCEPTING A BONUS YOU ARE AGREEING TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS BELOW. ALL BONUS INSERTIONS ARE FINAL.

Special Offers, Trade Refunds, Benefits and Bonuses

Please read carefully before accepting a special offer, trade refund, benefit, or bonus.

2. Unless stated otherwise in writing from [broker name] and only [broker name], the terms of the offer, a precondition for making withdrawals after using the bonus/benefit is to buy options of 20 times the amount of the bonus/benefit plus the deposit amount. Example: (deposit + bonus x 20 = required turnover for withdrawal)

4. The bonuses/benefits must be used within the period defined in the details of the special offer. Should the bonus/benefit fail to be used within this time frame, the bonus/benefit will be withdrawn from the client’s account.

5…

By accepting a bonus into your account, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions above. NOTE: If the required turnover is not met when making a withdrawal request – the withdrawal request will be automatically canceled. NOTE: [Broker name] DOES NOT RECOMMEND TAKING A BONUS UNLESS YOU KNOW HOW MAKE IT WORK IN YOUR ADVANTAGE AS LEVERAGE. BY ACCEPTING A BONUS YOU ARE AGREEING TO THE ABOVE TERMS.

Dormant Accounts Procedure

1. [broker name] client accounts in which there have been no transactions (trading / withdrawals / deposits), for a set period of 12 months, will be considered by [broker name] as being dormant accounts. 2. Dormant accounts will be charged an annual maintenance fee of US$25 or the full amount of the free balance in the account if the free balance is less than US$25. There will be no charge if the free balance is zero. Consequently, all accounts with a zero free balance will be closed.

Before making a withdrawal in the presence of a bonus, there must be a number of trades for a value of 20 times the value of the bonus plus the deposit, which means:

Required transactions value = (deposit) + (bonus x 20).

The broker can also set deadline within which these transactions must be performed, otherwise the bonus can be canceled.

There is no limitation in the absence of a bonus: this might be an obvious assertion but there are certain brokers which impose a minimum value of trades also with no bonus given to the trader before the he/she can withdraw, even partially, his/her money (case 7).

The accounts inactive for 12 months are charged $25 or, if the balance is less than $25, an amount equal to the balance, therefore in this last case set to zero and then canceled.

Case 3

Bonus conditions:

Bonuses are only available for withdrawal after trading X times the volume of the bonus value.

For example if a bonus of 100$ is granted, the trader must complete a total trading volume of x times 100$ before the bonus is available for withdrawal (subject to account balance).

In the event that the entire or part of the deposit on which the bonus is given is withdrawn before X times the bonus has been traded, then the following shall apply:

1. The bonus shall be canceled.

2. In the case of trading losses, all the trading losses will be deducted from the original deposit and the remaining balance may be withdrawn.

3. In the case of profits, the trading profits shall be canceled and the original deposit may be withdrawn.”

If the trader receives a bonus, the minimum turnover in transactions required is equal to “X” times the value of the bonus before the investor is able to make any kind of withdrawal from his account, even out of the original deposit. The multiplier is not specified in the general Terms & Conditions, but it is set for each specific bonus. If the trader would like to withdraw even partially from the account after having received the bonus and before reaching the minimum required value of transactions, the bonus is canceled together with the profits generated while the bonus present on the account; the losses instead remain and charged to the account and the trader can only withdraw the original deposit less the losses incurred; in the best scenario then, the trader will withdraw no more than the original deposit.

We strongly suggest that before accepting a bonus you must know precisely the Terms of the same bonus.

Case 4

11. Withdrawal Procedure

For bank wire transfers, [broker name] covers the withdrawal fee for the first withdrawal of a given month, any subsequent withdrawal using bank transfer will accompany a processing fee of $30, which covers the transfer fee.

Once a withdrawal request has been submitted, it can take [broker name] up to 3 business days to process the request. Once the request has been approved please allow an additional 5-7 days for the funds to show in your account.

12. Investment Reward and Bonus Policy

… Unless stated otherwise on specific promotions the default promotional terms apply to all bonuses as shown below:

Withdrawal of funds which have received additional rewards, bonuses, or promotions, require a trading volume fulfillment of 30 times the bonus or in the even of a refund bonus 20 times the bonus amount. The trade volume requirement begins upon receipt of the bonus in the traders account. Upon receipt of the bonus, the trading requirement must be fulfilled prior to withdrawing funds from the account… “

Apart from some redundant concepts, also in this case without any bonus there are no limitations to withdraw.

Binary Broker Terms & Conditions to refuse

Case 1

7. Specific Conditions of Use

Withdrawals:… § 30 active trading days are necessary in order to ask for a withdrawal.§15 times the trading volume is required in order to make a withdrawal and also withdraw the Bonus § Processing the withdrawal request takes a period of 3 to 5 business. if the conditions are fulfilled and the request is approved, the sum will be paid within a period of 7 to 10 working days. § You will be charged a penalty fee of 45€ for any withdrawal of sums less than or equal to 300 Euros. § A fee of 15% will be charged for all withdrawals above 300 Euros.§ [broker’s name] authorizes withdrawals up to a maximum value of 5000 USD or Euros per month. In the event that a trader wishes to withdraw earnings of a value greater than 5000 USD or Euros, they will be forced to spread out the withdrawal over several months.

Bonus:

… There is never any obligation to accept these bonuses… “

Three are the constraints quite burdensome:

  • the need to carry out trading activities for 30 days before you can withdraw,
  • the obligation to make operations for a value of 15 times the initial deposit regardless of the presence of the bonus,
  • the excessive fee of 15% of the value of the withdrawal, with a minimum fee of €45.

It does not matter that much if within the bonus section the broker underlines that there is no obligation to accept the bonus: the constraint of the minimum turnover in binary operations is valid even without the bonus.

And incredible is also the condition for those willing to withdraw more than €/$ 5.000; apart from the fact that the wording of the article seems to refer only to withdrawals of profits, therefore excluding the case of withdrawals of funds deposited, limiting the withdrawal to $5,000 and divide the surplus in withdrawals to be made in “several months” without even indicating how many months of delay seems too unfair.

Not to mention the English style, quite approximate and superficial.

For all the above reasons, these Terms & Conditions seem unfair and unjust, and for that not be accepted at all.

Case 2

“19… Withdrawals shall be made according to the site procedures and will take up to fourteen (14) banking days or as determined by the billing services provider of the site, the longer between the two.

21. The Company, at its sole discretion, may decide (but not be obliged to do so) to offer bonuses, promotional offers or any other kind of benefits to the Client, to set its conditions, and/or change them without prior notice to the Client. The Company shall not be subject to reason its decision nor to be forced to do the same in future transactions of the Client. Once a bonus has been awarded/accredited to a clients account, they will be subject to execute transactions in an amount of at least ten (10) times the deposit amount and might also subject to minimum deposit and/or minimum volume of trading and/or a certain time limit. Furthermore, the Company may, at its sole discretion, credit the Client with up to Thirty five Percent (35%) bonus for each deposit made by the Client up to a maximum of one thousand five Hundred ($1500). “

The important and unfair conditions are:

· the delay of 14 days before transferring the money is quite long and unjustified even for all possible controls for identity security and anti-laundering purposes;

· the broker reserves the right to credit on the customer’s account a bonus up to 35% of the deposit, with no possibility for the customer to reject it, which means that the broker has the right to artificially create the bonus and to impose the subsequent bonus conditions of the minimum turnover of transactions, which could mean that the broker can avoid any request of withdrawal by simply crediting the bonus!

These conditions must be considered unfair and unjust and for that not acceptable.

To conclude, looking at the Terms & Conditions of the different brokers, it is clear that there are brokers which are highly professional and serious, as well as brokers which take advantage of the fact the potential customers do not read the contract between them and the broker and chose the broker on the basis of marketing campaigns, advertising, promotion activities in general.

It is therefore necessary to carefully read both the T&C regulating the trading account and the relationship between broker and customer, and the specific conditions of the trading bonuses that brokers offer constantly to attract new customers.

We hope that this article has been of your interest.

How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft in Stock Trading?

Stock trading involves transactions of millions of dollars every day. Even a slight lapse in online security of personal information and financial transactions may cost the stock traders heavily.

When your personal information such as your user ID and password is taken away without your knowledge and used to defraud you, it is called identity theft.

You must make yourself aware of the various identity theft tactics that are used by the identity thieves or hackers on the Internet. You must remain vigilant about such possibilities and protect your account by taking suitable measures. Some of the schemes used for stealing your identity are:

Phishing

Phishing is the process of sending apparently legitimate emails, pop-up messages or building phony websites to hoodwink the users into parting with their personal account access information. Phishers send these messages to collect data that includes name, account user IDs, passwords, address, date of birth, social security number and so on.

Then these thieves open false accounts in your name or access your existing accounts. Imagine being defrauded of your earnings from your online stock trading account soon after you have received money after selling a stock!

The stock ploy used in the email message is to create a sense of urgency under the threat of account closure if the personal information sought in the message is not made available to the sender.

The reason offered is that your account information needs to be verified or that your account has suffered a security breach. The email appears almost identical to the ones you usually receive from your stock broker, banker and so on. They carry the same logo, name and feel as the original mails.

How to protect yourself from phishing?

1. Use security software with anti-phishing features, which are offered by many companies. These software programs help you to identity the junk mails and filter them from the incoming mails.

2. Never reveal your personal information especially passwords and social security numbers through emails or pop-ups. This vital information should only be revealed through the legitimate formats in the websites of your stock brokerages.

3. Beware of call to action emails asking you to urgently provide your personal information under threats of account termination and so on.

4. Be careful when you type the website address of your stock broker. If you mis-spell the URL, you may possibly be taken to the fake website set up to phish your information.

5. Use spam detectors which most of your email account services provide free of cost.

6. Regularly update your Windows operating system and other security software to ensure the blockage of phishing threats.

7. Use the latest version of your internet browser which contains the current security features.

8. Never seek your account information through the emails or pop-ups.

If you ever suspect the genuineness of an email or message, contact your stock broker via a secure channel or call them on telephone.

Pharming

The advanced version of phishing is called pharming. Members are directed to a malicious website that is almost similar to your stock broker’s website in appearance and feel. Once there, you are asked to upgrade or update your account information or change your passwords.

How to protect yourself from pharming?

When you visit a website for a purchase or a financial transaction, ensure that the website contains the SSL protection. SSL or the Secure Socket Layer is a communication protocol which is used to protect your vital data transfers over the Internet.

Most stock brokerages use the industry leading 128-bit VeriSign SSL encryption technology on their sites to ensure that your personal data protected from eavesdropping, tampering, and forgery.

An authentic website contains a clickable VeriSign Certificate Icon located at the bottom of each page.

Trojan Horses

A Trojan horse is a software program that installs malicious code on your computer. Trojan horses usually remain inactive till you take an action such as clicking on a link or an email. As you hit the link, the code is activated and the hacker can capture your keystrokes and collect your user ID, password and other sensitive data. Trojan horses often come with free downloads such as screen savers or spyware.

How to protect yourself from Trojan horses?

o Use security software from reputed companies that block the Trojans and key loggers.

o Regularly update your security system, which is the best form of defense again the Trojans and spyware installers.

o Use the latest version of your Internet browser as it contains the latest security features.

o Be cautious while sharing peer-to-peer files. Trojans are often found in such file sharing programs waiting to be downloaded.

Preventing Identity Theft

The best protection against identity theft, without doubt, is identity theft prevention. A recent article in USA Today shows how identity theft can happen. An identity theft ring hacked into Marshall Department Store’s main computer and stole thousands of credit card numbers. The ring members then traveled throughout Florida using these stolen credit card numbers to charge high-value merchandise at stores like WalMart.

They then sold the merchandise to “fences,” or even more brazenly, returned the merchandise to WalMart stores for a cash refund. A WalMart clerk got suspicious and called store security, which contacted police. The ring members are now all serving long sentences in the slammer.

But the more important point is, if you’ve ever shopped at Marshall’s you could have found yourself with credit card bills for many thousands of dollars of merchandise you never purchased. What a gigantic headache! True, you wouldn’t be legally responsible for those fraudulent purchases. Nevertheless, your credit record would be quite a mess for a long time.

Clearly – notwithstanding some recent legislation – identity theft is the crime that’s probably most likely to happen to you. It’s simply too easy for crooks to get hold of credit card numbers and social security numbers these days. In this report I’ll briefly discuss how identity theft happens, what to do if it happens to you, and also mention a few important self-protection measures.

Identity Theft Defined

Identity theft doesn’t usually mean somebody steals your identity and then goes off to a faraway place and lives his/her life impersonating you and running up bills in your name. It could mean that, but that is extremely rare. Most commonly, it just means somebody runs up bills using your credit card or credit rating. Sometimes a lot of bills. There have even been cases of identity thieves taking out house mortgages under somebody else’s name, and then flipping (re-selling) the house.

Two Types of Identity Thieves

There are two main types of identity thieves, namely identity theft rings and individual identity thieves.

Identity theft rings resemble little Mafias with a boss and a group of underlings who do the more risky tasks, such as setting up credit accounts and going into retail stores to purchase merchandise using fake credit cards. (Many rings actually manufacture valid-appearing credit cards, or hire specialists to do it for them.)

Typically identity theft rings use hit-and-run tactics, working in a fixed location for a few months then disappearing.

The other type of identity thief is the lone individual who is trying to upgrade his/her standard of living by credit card fraud. Usually, this type of identity thief will not make quite as much of a train-wreck of your credit standing as the identity theft ring. Even so you may find yourself spending many hours trying to fix it.

Needless to say, both types of identity thieves – the rings and the individuals – usually target high-income individuals. Anyone with an expensive car, home, or high-paying job is a more-likely target. Unfortunately, your social security number can be just about as easy to get these days as your phone number. All a crook needs is an account with an information broker online and your name and address. Then, given your social security number and a little additional information like your date of birth (which is also pretty easy to find online), the identity thief can set up all kinds of charge accounts in your name, arranging to have the bills sent to a phony address so that it will take longer for you to catch on to what’s happening.

But not all identity theft stems from online information brokers giving out social security numbers. In fact experts say only a very small fraction of it does. Most often, thieves directly steal credit card numbers, like the ring that I mentioned above which operated in Florida. On a smaller scale, a thief working as a waiter or clerk may steal your credit card number or possibly your whole purse or wallet.

In any case, it can escalate from a major nuisance to a major crisis if the identity thief commits a crime while impersonating you, possibly by means of a fake driver’s license or other forged document. Should he/she be charged and then fail to appear in court, you could find yourself under arrest and charged with the crime or other offense.

If It Happens To You

If you receive bills for merchandise/services you didn’t buy, or get a call from a merchant complaining about a bill you didn’t pay for something you didn’t order, you’re very probably facing identity theft. Here’s the process you should follow. Note: You might also wish to read the FTC’s webpage (ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft) on this topic.

First, get as much information as you can from the merchant, such as when the purchase took place, type of credit used (credit line or credit card), account number, monetary amount, where the bills were sent, and if a credit application was filled out (if so, get a copy of it). Explain to the merchant that you’ve been a victim of identity theft – always use that term, “identity theft” – and request that he not report the bill to the credit bureau in your name.

Second, contact one of the three major credit bureaus and tell them to put a fraud alert on your credit reports. This prevents the identity thief from opening more accounts in your name. You only need to contact one of the three credit bureaus to place the alert, since whichever one you notify will then alert the other two as well. The credit bureaus are:

Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian: 1-888-387-3742

Have the credit bureau representative send you a copy of your credit report (this should be free). Then study it carefully and look for fraudulent charges. Close all accounts you think have been tampered with and write a letter to those merchants explaining that you have been a victim of identity theft. (Note: don’t mail the letters yet. You should enclose a copy of your police report; see below.)

Third, take your credit report to your local police department and file a formal police report. Always keep this report with you in the event you ever find yourself charged with a crime committed by the identity thief. Incidentally, your local police department tells you they don’t accept reports for identity theft tell them you wish to file a “Miscellaneous Incidents” report. As an alternative you can file your report with the State Police.

Fourth, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and inform them that you have been a victim of identity theft. Request a new drivers license with a new drivers license number.

Fifth, try to find out if there are any currently pending criminal or civil actions against you. I suggest using online service US Search.com as a quick, reliable source for this type of information. If you do find court judgments against you should then write a letter to the court explaining that you have been a victim of an identity thief (enclosing a copy of your police report) and ask that the judgment be vacated.

Sixth, contact the U.S. Department of State (again, including a copy of your police report) and ask that they confirm that a passport has not been recently issued in your name. If one has, ask that it be canceled immediately. The address to write to is:

U.S. State Department Attn: Passport Services
1111 19th St., NW, Suite. 500
Washington DC 20522

Preventing Identity Theft

A hundred percent identity theft prevention doesn’t exist. There’s no surefire way to completely protect yourself against identity theft – but there are some things you can do to make it less likely you’ll be targeted.

1. Take steps to make your social security number a little harder for identity thieves to obtain. As said, identity thieves can easily obtain your SSN if they know your name and address. So why not make it harder for them to get your address in the first place? You can do this by using a post office box number on all credit applications and other types of forms which will become public information, such as registration records.

2. Try to keep your telephone number out of general circulation. Why? Because once somebody knows your telephone number, they can use a “reverse directory” on the Internet to easily obtain your home address.

3. Always use personal checks only for by-mail bill paying, never for day-to-day, in-person purchases. Your personal checks contain identifying information about your bank account plus your personal signature. So it’s much safer to use a credit card or debit card.

4. Get your name removed from “pre-screening” programs (marketing services offered by the three credit bureaus). Whenever you get a credit card offer in the mail, it’s because your name and address appeared on a pre-screening list, which contains only credit-worthy individuals. But these lists are commonly used by identity theft rings to target potential victims. To get removed from such lists of all major credit bureaus, call 888-567-8688 and inform the clerk that you wish to be removed from all pre-screening programs.