Binary Trading (commonly also known as Binary Options Trading or Binary Options) is a type of option where the trader takes a yes or no position on the price of a stock or other assets, with the resulting payoff being all or nothing. Assets that can be traded as Binary Options are indices, forex, commodities and stocks.
Binary Trading in the GCC
All binary options trades are conducted through Internet-based trading platforms which give the impression that they are based in the GCC and do not comply with applicable GCC regulatory requirements and may be engaging in illegal activities. GCC mainly Saudi Arabia stands eighth in the top ten list of binary options trading market.
Types of scams running in the GCC
The scammers are using various techniques to lure GCC residents to engage in TRAP10. Implying affiliation with GCC based financial institutions is the most concerning part. Following is a list of fraud techniques that we were able to identify:
- ● Brand Abuse: The scammers are abusing brand names of GCC organizations to lure the residents in engaging with them. One of the easiest way to do so is by hosting binary trade business on lookalike domain names of recognized GCC organizations. Another is by creating lookalike social media profiles of recognized GCC brands, to connect and invite the target individuals, implying to them like they are a legitimate GCC organization. While investigating one such lookalike name of a GCC stock exchange, our analysts discovered multiple variations of the same name registered by an entity OptionRally, which is one of the most popular, yet completely unregulated brokers in the GCC. (Option Rally is registered in Cyprus, presumably under CySec)
- ● Unregistered Establishments: Upon analysis of other websites, like BancoFX, Stock Pair, RehaOren, Top Option and Option Rally, it seems that these private enterprises are operating in GCC countries like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and UAE without officially incorporating in-country. These entities have vague physical locations listed on their websites and do not appear to be regulated under any official authority; furthermore, phone numbers also remain unanswered during work-hours. As a result, we believe there is a · high likelihood that they are fraudulent and not registered as local or branch businesses.
- ● Identity Theft: With brokers not being regulated or monitored, we believe there is a very high risk to customers who give their personal and credit card details as this information can be used for a fraudulent purpose. One such example is No1Options.com which requires personal information of the user to sign up.
- ● Misrepresentation: Most binary trading websites are using get-rich marketing schemes like “Want to make $1,000 or more per day?” to attract GCC-based customers and offering bonuses of multiples of the deposit amount; however, there is considerable fine-print that makes it highly unlikely that large profits can be realized. An example of this is on Banc De Binary, RehaOren and others where a consumer is attracted towards claims of 200% returns on the deposit; yet, in real terms such scenarios are only possible when a trade is 20x the deposit and bonus amounts.
- ● Manipulation of software: Manipulation of the TRAP10 software to generate losing trades is possible in an unregulated environment. Brokers can manipulate the trading software to distort prices and payouts. For example, when a customer’s trade is winning, the countdown to expiration is extended arbitrarily until the trade becomes a loss. We did identify a case where a trader fell victim to this scam. The background of this is that each broker has a system where a trade is placed and a countdown to the expiration begins. When the clock ticks to zero the victim/trader is awarded a win or suffers a loss. This is a standard binary · options trade; however, what happens after the clock ticks to zero, the status changes to Expiring for at least another 30 to 60 seconds. During that time, if trading was closed, the stock may move enough for the trader/victim to lose their money. OptionBit is one example of mass complaints.
- ● Unauthorized articles: During the course of our research, we have found articles written by unauthorized people supporting TRAP10 in the GCC which are misguiding the public. arabicbinaryoption.com is one such website which is misleading the users that the reputable stock exchanges in the GCC trade in binary options.