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Another forex trading platform swindles hundreds of thousands of dollars

By Viet Anh, Viet Quoc   June 30, 2021 | 12:11 am PT
Another forex trading platform swindles hundreds of thousands of dollars
Investors attend a cryptocurrency trading forum in Phan Thiet in the central Binh Thuan Province. Photo acquired by VnExpress.
Yet another fraudulent foreign exchange trading platform that cheated people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars has been exposed in HCMC.

Nga, a resident of HCMC’s District 7 spends most of her time these days reading updates about FXTradingMarkets in a Facebook group with 4,200 members.

On June 25, the group received a screenshot of a notice believed to be from the Lion Group, which ran the platform, that it would cease to operate from the next day onwards.

Nga has invested VND1.4 billion ($60,700) in the platform; and many others have also invested billions of dong. Now, they do not know how they can get back the money.

A month earlier, the HCMC police had warned people not to trade on currency trading platforms, saying there was a high risk of losing their money.

They had found that four people from the Lion Group were hosting forums in various places to talk about how to get rich quick.

Since 2019, the group has been advertising FXTradingMarkets as a platform headquartered and licensed in the UK and linked to another platform called UKTrade.

An investor had to deposit at least $1,000 and would get its equivalent in FXT, a cryptocurrency the platform uses to trade.

Investors would bet on whether a currency would rise or fall within the next 30 seconds. If they were right, they got 95 percent of the bet as profit, but lose everything if they were wrong.

However, the platform also advertised that everyone could earn one percent a day on their investment if they allowed "experts" to make the bet on their behalf.

Investors also got a commission if they introduced new clients.

At first, the investors could trade the FXT currency with their leader for cash, but starting at the end of February, the platform no longer allowed this trade, and investors had to trade in other cryptocurrency markets with a rate of 1 FXT equals $0.3, meaning a 70 percent loss.

"When similar platforms crashed, we were concerned, but the managers told us not to worry," Nga said.

Many celebrities endorsed FXT and so investors continued to place their trust in it, she said.

Earlier this month the platform posted a notice saying "upgrade ongoing" and did not allow investors to see their account balance. On June 25, when the leaders gave their final notice, 1 FXT was worth $0.0022.

That means Nga’s investment of $60,000 was then worth only $133, or a 99.78 percent loss.

The other platform UKTrade also crashed on June 26.

Tam of Thu Duc District said he invested VND2.8 billion in UKTrade in April but "most of the money is now gone," adding that thousands of investors lost 95 percent of their money on May 10.

"Because of the pandemic, our experts were not able to analyze the market," the leaders told investors, asking them to either pour more money in to recover the loss or be removed from the system.

Tam and around 10 other investors joined together to report the platform to the police. Together, they have lost a total of VND6 billion.

Vo Thi Dieu Hien in the central province of Binh Thuan in early May invested VND319 million, but in less than a week she saw all her cryptocurrency gone.

The leaders asked her to submit another 30 percent of her capital to "save" her account and promised higher profits. She did not, and her account was locked right after.

"That’s when I realized I was tricked, so I reported it so others won’t fall into the same trap."

HCMC and Binh Thuan police said they have received the reports and have done initial investigations. They found that FXTradingMarkets was registered and has servers in the U.S.

There are signs that the administrators are setting up a new website with similar user interface and functions at sp500stock.com, the police said. The website was no longer available at the time of publishing.

This is the latest of many of forex trading platform frauds that have been uncovered in Vietnam of late. Thousands of investors have been duped, even though authorities have repeatedly warned them that these platforms are illegal and highly risky.

 
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