FPA Forums and Reviews Admin
Secure Investment Wasn't Secure
The promises from the managed forex company called Secure Investment looked good. They offered a very high rate of return. They had offices in several major cities around the world. At first, there weren't any complaints online. On May 1st, 2014, the SecureInvest.com website disappeared, along with all the money.
David Evans of Bloomberg just published the obituary for this company. His article, Forex Investors May Face $1 Billion Loss as Trade Site Vanishes, shows how the whole company was based on a carefully built framework of lies and deceit.
I am proud to say that the FPA did contribute at least some to the article. David spotted the thread about Secure Investment in the FPA's forums and asked me to put him in touch with the victims. FPA privacy rules mean I can't share member email addresses with David, so I sent a note with David's email address to the FPA members involved. He interviewed two dozen victims. I don't know how many of those came from the FPA and how many came from other sources.
According to David's research, Secure Investment set up multiple companies and bank accounts in different countries. The company addresses were either fake or rented “virtual office” type of addresses. Evidently none were rented by any company calling itself Secure Investment.
Credibility for sale, cheap!
David also tracked down some of the people appearing in video testimonials on the SecureInvestment.com site. Even though they talked about making a lot of money, it turned out that they were just actors. One reported he was paid $20 to tell innocent investors how great Secure Investment was. Another got $4 to talk about fictional experiences with the company.
The FPA doesn't really care if the “face of a company” is a paid actor. What the FPA strongly objects to is paid testimonials from non-customers or even paying real customers and not disclosing the fact that they were paid. Doing so is illegal in the United States and other countries. My moderation team and I have caught this happening in the FPA's reviews more than once. From now on, I'm hoping that people will report any evidence of reviews by paid actors on company websites. I'll personally make sure to highlight this sort of abusive behavior on the company's review page.
Where is the money?
Tracking down the criminals won't be easy. Here's a quote from Senator Carl Levin in David's article...
Senator Levin agrees with Pharaoh...Law enforcement will have to focus on the bank accounts, wire transfers and financial transactions – with international cooperation and some luck – might be used to get behind the anonymous shell companies hiding the perpetrators and stolen funds.
If you do have any information that could help, please post it here at the FPA. Also, contact David and share it with him.If you deposited by bank wire, post the information of the account you sent your money to here in this thread.
The main question anyone needs to ask is “Was there any way for potential investors to know in advance that this was probably a fraud?” The answer, both at the FPA and in David's article, is a clear YES.
David's point alone should have been enough to make people stop and think. If more was needed, check out what was publicly posted here at the FPA...Even without compounding, those kinds of daily returns would amount to an annual gain of about 250% - or more than 25 times the average annual return of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, with dividends reinvested, for the past 50 years.
1. No complaints doesn't necessarily mean much. It could just mean that a company doesn't really have all that many clients. Did you find anything positive about them posted in 2008-2012?
2. The trading history is just a list of numbers. Without investor access to a broker account, you have no way of knowing if it's truth or complete fiction.
3. Their claimed office is in Panama. This does not inspire confidence.
4. They refuse to show their licenses unless you invest at least $1000. It costs nothing to list licenses and registrations on a website. What legitimate company would only allow people who have invested 20 times the minimum investment to perform due diligence?
5. You get to see your gains/losses at the end of the day, and can't withdraw until the end of the period of your investment. Since you can't know that any real trading is happening, any results could be pure fiction. It would be sad if your account suffered a sudden, unfortunate loss if they find out you plan to withdraw.
6. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that an average of 1.21% per day across many years is IMPOSSIBLE. If someone can give me investor access to a live account at a reputable broker that has achieved these results for all of 2009-2012 and continues to perform at those rates in 2013, I will happily apologize and humbly beg that person to manage all of my investments.
Guys, stop being fooled!
There are three things that make me think these guys are running a Ponzi scheme:
1) They are claiming zero monthly losses since late 2008 which, in Forex, is IMPOSSIBLE to have no losses after 4.5 years. 2) You cannot withdraw funds before certain period without a fee, otherwise they would withhold 25% of your funds (tell me a single real managed Forex that does this) 3) Ask them about the brokers that they work with, and they will refuse to answer (A real, transparent managed Forex would tell you in which Forex broker to deposit your money--NOT DIRECTLY WITH THE TRADER--and gives you a LPOA agreement to sign). It's just a matter of time to see these guys stealing your money and walk away. It could be another month, another year...
Don't be a victim of the next scam like this
No matter how tempting the offer, there is a simple maxim that investors need to keep in mind.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. - Marcello Truzi
Secure Investment started with wild claims of years of high profits. They even claimed that they'd cover any losses is there were negative results. These claims, plus sending the money directly to the company instead of placing it with a broker, are clear warning signs to anyone familiar with Ponzi schemes.
The SecureInvest.com website was kept up to date with new “successful trades” to convince potential investors that they really were trading. All anyone had to do to avoid this trap was to ask the right questions up front. The simplest way would be to ask for investor access to a live account.
David's article details 3 investors who thought they were being cautions, but weren't cautious enough. I strongly encourage you to read it. It gives a clear picture of the damage this kind of scam can do to people's lives.
At the FPA, Pharaoh, Fxpulse, and others actively discouraged people from placing any money with Secure Investment. Some FPA members were so taken in by the scam that they turned around and attacked anyone questioning it. Most of those didn't come back after the scam site disappeared. The discussion thread at the FPA is a clear example of desire overcoming common sense. I think everyone who is thinking about investing with any plan promising high returns should read the whole thread carefully.
Forex Investors May Face $1 Billion Loss as Trade Site Vanishes by David Evans
SecureInvestment discussion thread at the FPA