As an author at Canadian Fraud News I have my go-to places whenever I need inspiration. One of those places is BBB Scam Tracker. A useful website where people report businesses or offers that sound like an illegal scheme or fraud. They can also choose to tell about their experience and how much money they lost. The organization visualizes the reports in a map of Canada with numbers and categorization of the scam.
While I was checking out the map I spotted an investment fraud in British Colombia that happened last August. The person who reported the scam did not lose much money, $250,- dollars, but researching the name of the company got me on an interesting trail: binary options called ‘Magnum options’ and the fraudster Manford Martin Mponda.
How binary options scams work
A binary option is a type of option whose payout depends on whether the underlying asset (such as a stock, a commodity, a currency pairing, etc.) increases or decreases in value.
Magnum Options purports to be a binary options trading platform provider. Since 2014 people can trade Magnum Options with a minimum deposit of $200. Expiry times range widely from 60 seconds to months. They claim to offer up to 81% profit, but the real range of binary options will be closer to 60%-80%.
In case of a scam, a fake company opens a website that looks like a legitimate binary options broker. They create trading signals software that promises 100% accuracy, and some write 100% guarantee. When you join the scam, you quickly lose your initial deposit of $250. You could then get a phone call from for example a “senior broker” asking you to invest more money.
Good reviews on broker websites
Magnum Options get relatively good reviews on online websites, even though they are not a licensed broker. ScamBroker writes that “Magnum Options is a binary options broker that focuses heavily on traders education. Their education department is staffed with many representatives speaking many languages to give their global traders the help they need in understanding the various binary options available” (read more).
Binary Option Robot Info says that Magnum options are different than most other binary options. Their success comes from the transparency and honesty toward their customers. They conclude that Magnum Options is not a scam broker: “Their range of assets is comprehensive and everything related to actual trading is exceptionally clear and straight forward. We recommend their broker services to all traders in every level from beginners to professionals” (read more).
Deceitful deposit bonuses
Magnum options offer new traders bonuses ranging from 10% all the way to 100%. Maximum bonus will be $10 000. The larger the deposit amount, the higher the bonus percentage will be.
Magnum Options user Cliff posted ten months ago that he has been happy for the most part but advises to never accept any type of deposit bonus. “The bonus causes the recipient to incur a 40% trading volume limit prior to being able to withdraw any funds. Meaning, if you accept a $5,000 bonus then you’ll have to make $200,000 in trades before being able to withdraw funds. So unless you trade a massive amount of money (and routinely win) then you’ll never get any funds in return. Additionally by accepting the bonus you will not be able to close your account until you reach the trading volume” (read more).
Other users are more critical about the Magnum Options. Terry Helliker wrote just 8 days ago that he wishes he had done more research before depositing money: “It just all seemed so real at the time. Received several calls from them as well as a bunch of emails. Once I made that deposit, it was too late. My “rep” turned into a monster. Very pushy and unfriendly, always wanting to call me. Now I am fighting to get my money back but they want me to send them all kinds of personal information which I am refusing to do – so you guessed it, they wont give me my money until I give up all my info.”
Valcina Latham feels scammed in this last month as well: “Magnum is fraud big time. Keep your money and don’t try to invest with this company. I am so happy I didn’t recommend them to anyone I know. There should be something clients can do to get their money back.” Glen Farr confirms the deceitful bonuses: “Magnum Options will trap you with a bonus. Do not invest with this company.”
Magnum Options in Canada
They don’t accept US traders, but in May this year the British Colombia Securities Commission became aware that a BC resident was able to open an account with Magnum Options (read more). The company that operates Magnum Options is Hampshire Capital Ventures Ltd., which claims to have an office in Norwich, England, (read more). BCSC: “The Parties are not registered to trade in, or advise on, securities or exchange contracts in BC. We urge BC residents to exercise caution when dealing with firms that are not registered to trade or advise in BC.”
The director of Hampshire Capital Ventures Ltd. is called Manford Martin Mponda. Researching this name resulted in finding a dozen of companies where he pulled of other investment scams. Victims are mostly from the United Kingdom and now he is targeting Canada too. Lars Holstensson published an article about Mponda this year saying: “It is unfortunate and regrettable that Mr. Manford Martin Mponda may continue their fraudulent dealings. He destroys other reputable brokers in binary options industry. He lurks the common people who pay taxes on their hardearned money. He also lurks the British tax authorities” (read more from Holstensson).
As witnessed in this article, most review websites only give generic information about the brokers. Make sure to check if the broker has a license from the CFTC, CySEC, ASIC, FCA, BaFIN, or another government regulator. Another sign of a scam is when the broker constantly calls you to deposit more money. So to avoid a binary options scam always properly research the binary options broker.
To read more about Magnum Options, we recommend this article by Edward.