When Dan Guralnek immigrated from Australia to Israel inhe did not anticipate becoming involved in an international internet scam. But in a city with sky-high rents and a cost of living relative to salaries PDF second only to Japan, Guralnek could not survive. He heard that jobs in an industry called binary options paid twice what he was earning, plus commission.
But they want you. On the day Guralnek stepped into the lavish offices of his new employer in the seaside town of Herzliya Pituah, he knew he had arrived. View of high-tech office buildings in Herzliya Pituah. Guralnek sat in a call center with about 50 other employees, many of whom were new immigrants fluent in a variety of languages. The clients would try to assess whether a currency or commodity would go up or down on international markets within a certain, short period of time.
If they predicted correctly, they won money, between 30 and 80 percent of the sum they had put down. Before he started the job, the company gave Guralnek a week-long sales course in which he was taught enough financial knowledge to sound good to a customer who knew less than him.
He was also instructed in high-pressure sales tactics. Why were workers prohibited from speaking Hebrew or bringing cellphones into the call center? Even worse, Guralnek began to suspect that beyond the poor odds customers had of actually making any money, and beyond the aggressive sales tactics, what the company was doing was downright illegal.
For instance, every salesperson was asked to invent a fake name and biography. The call center used Voice over Internet Protocol VoIP technology, which displayed a local phone number to customers anywhere in the world. Guralnek says he was told to present himself as a broker who made a commission on the trades and to emphasize how much money the customer could make while downplaying the risk.
Guralnek says he was also increasingly disquieted by what happened when the clients tried to quit. We need to verify your identity before we can release the funds. But the grimmest part of the job for the young immigrant was asking for money from people who seemed poor and dejected.
Every story is sad. Lots of people are finally getting back on their feet after a drug problem or something. But I would throw the sale every time. No one seems to know precisely how big the binary options and forex industries are in Israel. But conservative estimates put the number of people employed in the industry at several thousand, mostly in Tel Aviv and its suburbs like Herzliya and Ramat Gan, while annual revenue could be anywhere from hundreds of millions to over a billion US dollars.
Globally, the term forex normally refers to legitimate trade in foreign currency, while binary options is the name of a financial instrument. Sometimes the terms Forex and binary options are used interchangeably to refer to rapid, all-or-nothing trades on a range of assets. At some binary options firms, the online platform is manipulated to provide false results that ensure the customer loses.
If the customer predicts correctly, he makes a profit of a certain percentage and the company loses money. If the customer is wrong, he loses all the money he placed on the trade, and the company keeps it.
Professional options traders consulted by The Times of Israel said that even a financial genius cannot predict with any confidence what, say, the price of gold will do in the next five minutes; rather than an investment, the transaction is really nothing more than a gamble.
The misrepresentation of gambling as responsible investment would be bad enough. A variety of ruses are used.
If an asset is behaving in a predictable way — say, the price of copper starts to climb following an earthquake in Chile — the company will pull that asset from the online platform.
Estimates of the number of binary options and forex companies in Israel vary from 20 to several hundred. IVC estimates these companies employ more that 2, people in Israel. Some other companies on the list included iForex, bForex, AnyOption, 4XPlace, Optionbit and Banc de Binary.
Based on these assessments, the Israeli forex and binary options industry has annual turnover in the hundreds of millions, possibly even billions, of dollars.
One distinction many people interviewed for this article drew was between unregulated and regulated companies. Several large, better-known companies with Israeli founders or major sales and marketing operations in Israel are regulated in Cyprus, which gives them license to sell financial products in individual EU countries even if they are not regulated in those countries.
Many forex and binary options companies operating in Israel, however, are unregulated. Many customers had clicked on an ad hawking ways to earn money from home. I need it to pay for this or that. Pretty much the company just refuses to give it up.
Additional clients were from Africa, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Asked about his managers, Sam said they were young Israelis who appeared to think it was cool to rip people off. How are you doing today? Inthe United States outlawed the marketing of binary options to its citizens, except on a handful of regulated exchanges. These schemes allegedly include refusing to credit customer accounts, denying fund reimbursement, identity theft, and manipulation of software to generate losing trades.
When a binary option expires, it either makes a pre-specified amount of money, or nothing at all, in which case the investor loses his or her entire investment. Trading binary options is made even riskier by fraudulent schemes, many of which originate outside the United States.
Trading binary options is made even riskier by fraudulent schemes, many of which originate outside the United States — US government warning. He said that everyone he met who was interested in buying the platform to start their own company wanted him to create a back door.
And the algorithm does that. If the customer brings proof that the price of oil did actually go up to where they predicted it would, the company will point them to the fine print, which states that the company has its own algorithms which may differ from real-time.
Individual European nations are letting binary options fly. While countries like the United States smelled the bullshit a long time ago and made it illegal. Graham said that on a gut level, he would like to see the industry shut down, but he is worried. Can you imagine thousands of people in Tel Aviv out of work?
General view of Tel Aviv on December 27, Chaya Berkowitz, an eight-year veteran of forex companies in Israel, tells the Times of Israel that her own experience in the industry has been good. Berkowitz asserts that there are legitimate companies in the industry, and rattles off the names FXCM, Alpari and FXPro, none of which are based in Israel.
They have the reputation of lying to their clients and misleading advertising. Berkowitz estimates that in legitimate forex companies, two or three out of 10 clients do earn profits and are able to easily withdraw their money.
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Cyprus, she claims, has become stricter in recent years. Personal word of mouth is huge. I would do my homework.
Look online to see who has a good reputation. I would ask questions when researching a broker. Do I have easy access to my money? Do you offer education? I wanted to find something more competitive, more similar to what I was earning in the United States.
People kept mentioning to Lynne that binary secrets training binary option trading jobs paid well. Lynne went on five or six interviews, where she learned she was eligible for two types of jobs. At each interview, Lynne probed extensively as to the nature of the job. Each company has its own marketing methods, often involving videos that tell the story of a person who learned a secret method of extracting money from the market, she says.
If you want to make serious money, you need to start trading, and we can tell you how. Lynne was eventually offered a retention job, and was enrolled in a two-week press about binary options trading signals software course.
The first thing she was told was to never reveal she was calling from Israel. All retention staff were asked to pose as trained brokers working out of a London office. You needed to think of a business school and say that you went there. You needed to say that you were a trader, that you had worked for either an investment bank or on Wall Street.
The company, she said, was regulated in Cyprus. In binary you see 70 percent coming in right away. If conversion agents were expected to get a client to make their first deposit, retention agents like Lynne were tasked with bringing in the big money. The first step was to size up kelebihan pelaburan forex customer.
Also, when we offered training to them, we would share their desktop and walk them through the website. So what is it you actually want to make in a year? If you want to achieve deutsche bank fx trading account you need to trade every day.
When the broker chose a stock for them to bet on, the stock would often t sql stored procedure parameter default value as promised.
When they got on the platform and made their own picks, they started losing. Then the broker would come back and help them make some good calls, and they would win again. Some are really sweet, some try to identify with them, some try to make them feel awkward — whatever the technique is that gets them to deposit.
But you will never get to that amount.
The longer you trade, the more money you lose, says Lynne. However, Lynne says again, with her company, if you resisted the temptation to take the bonus, and if you put in a request, the company would send you your money. In fact, they encouraged people to take small withdrawals. When I tell people about this job, they are shocked. Marom said in the letter that he had been searching for a job in recent months and as a Russian speaker had interviewed with forex companies that operate in Israel and target customers abroad.
He said he was surprised at the sheer magnitude of the fast-growing industry. Marom added that after years in the traditional banking industry, he was shocked at the practices he witnessed in several forex companies. A casino hands you futures options online commodity broker winnings immediately. Their complaints never reach our justice system and so the industry is not exposed.
How is it possible that this has been happening for years, with no local regulation? What happens when thousands of Turks, Russians, Spaniards, Italians and French figure out that the scam they fell for was carried out from here, in Israel?
Are our regulators waiting for synagogues to start blowing up all over the world to shut this thing down? The Times of Israel tried to track Marom down, but the CEO of FeeX, a high-tech startup he used to blog for, said he had not heard from Marom for a few years and had no contact information.
The cyber intelligence company did, however, make some interesting observations about the forex and binary options industries. Ben-avi mentioned several companies known to be operating from Israel. Most of the time, when you have a company that large, you can see the owner, you can see the shareholders.
Ben-avi conducted an automatic search with a system that scours hundreds of thousands of sites and closed dark web forums. Where is it coming from and where is it going? There are rules as to how someone can access money in a claim. Furthermore, says Jared, in the United States, a license to sell securities or handle client investments would require a person to meet forex binary options ex learn to trade ethical standards.
If I called up your parents and said put money in this investment and they lost it all, in theory I could be arrested and go to jail. What happens if someone loses money? The broker is not giving you a service like in a bank; he is personally betting against you.
Sometimes that fraud is very sophisticated. What the industry does need, he says, is real-time regulation. Zelekha says the ISA has fought a long battle to regulate the online financial trading industry. Shurki says a new law to regulate online financial trading industries went into effect in May The companies that wanted to continue to offer their products to Israeli customers had to request a license from the ISA. Twenty-one companies requested licenses.
One was disqualified, because its controlling shareholder, Aviv Talmor, had fled to Cyprus to escape arrest for alleged financial misdeeds. Talmor has since returned to Israel and is currently under house arrest.
Two other companies withdrew their applications, leaving Of these, four are primarily binary options companies, while the others seek to offer other types of CFDs, or contracts for differences, as well.
Almost a year later, none of the applicants has been approved. Shurki says that the industry is currently in a transition period while the ISA reviews the applicants. During this period, the 18 companies have permission to continue to operate. Which way is the ISA leaning? Its basis is problematic. CFDs, or contracts for black scholes option example, a high-risk financial instrument that is also banned in options optionstrading trading seminars los angeles United States except on registered security exchanges, will be allowed in Israel, says Shurki.
However, Shurki says CFDs will be regulated in real-time and aggressive or deceptive sales tactics will be rendered illegal.
The ISA will monitor the prices of every product offered to make sure they are transparent and fair; traders will need to be licensed; and traders will also be prohibited from offering advice or tips to their customers. This all sounds quite impressive. Once the ISA australian dollar currency rate in pakistan it decision, early exercise of incentive stock options might be forgiven for thinking, the binary options fraudsters will be out of business.
The new regulations apply only to companies that target Israeli customers. If a binary options or forex company targets customers abroad exclusively, it will not be regulated by the ISA. Thus, to ensure that the new law not apply to them, companies need only exclude Israeli clients. A quick visit to the websites of several binary options firms does indeed prompt messages saying the service is not available to Israelis.
Yes, but when an Israeli company steals from people in another country, is that not a crime? Perhaps nowhere is the hand-wringing and acrimony over Israel-based forex and binary options trading more anguished than in the community of French Jews living in Israel. And that earning a living does not mean everything is permissible!
Again, numbers are hard to come by for how many young French speakers are employed in the industry. As previously reported in The Times of Israel, about citadel fx options recent immigrants from France were charged last year with cyber crimes and telephone scams, while France has reportedly sent Israel 70 additional formal requests for judicial assistance for cases of suspected fraud.
A movie was recently made in France about one of these alleged fraudsters. But then you see that many of them are working in the forex industry or binary options industry.
You go to Tel Aviv today, when you say to someone in the French community, I work in finance, they immediately think that you work in this shit. Some people have killed themselves. Those forex and binary options complaints constituted 37 percent of all complaints about securities fraud received by the authority in that year. The majority of the forex transactions that prompted those complaints originated in Israel, the article claims. There is yet another piece of the binary options empire, and it relates to the way Israeli firms manage to reassure customers of their ostensible integrity, via Google.
A company has approached you about making a deposit, but you are not sure, so you decide to do your homework. You will get a list of results, one or two of which may be fraud warnings from the US regulatory body, the CFTC. US law banning binary options is directed at the companies that market them, not the customers who buy them, so there is some truth in that statement.
Aerial view of the coastal city of Herzliya Pituah, July 21, Many countries, including Canada, publish updated lists of unregistered binary options companies that solicit customers in Canada in violation of the law.
A recent Canadian list is here. The list features 37 companies. The Times of Israel went to the website of each company on this list. Some were no longer in operation. Others blocked users from Israel presumably to avoid trouble with the Israel Securities Authority. One now hosts a porn site. Most were hard to pin down to a geographic location.
However, based on first- and secondhand sources, The Times of Israel suspects that more than half of these companies, if not the overwhelming majority, operate from Israel. Google indexes the Internet and ranks things where it ranks them. Is Google safe to use? The answer, it would appear, is no. That expertise has plainly been applied by fraudulent binary options firms, whose affiliated sites show up high in Google searches — sending unsuspecting and naive clients their way.
The Times of Israel sent Google a request for an interview about the manipulation of its search platform by allegedly fraudulent businesses in the binary options industry, but Google did not respond.
The Times of Israel contacted the Israel Police repeatedly to ask them about alleged fraud in the forex and binary options industries.
Their answers underlined how law enforcement is struggling to grapple with the soaring, fast-moving challenge of Internet crime.
Please focus it more. Who filed a complaint against whom? Finally, The Times of Israel called a third spokesperson, Merav Lapidot, and asked her what the police are doing about suspected fraud on a vast scale in the forex and binary options industries in Israel.
Israel Police spokeswoman Merav Lapidot, November 28, If no one has complained about it, there is no issue. You want us to check every company in Israel and see if by chance they are committing crimes? Told that people who worked inside the industry have described widespread potentially fraudulent behavior on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars, affecting tens of thousands of people, Lapidot replied: You could start a business tomorrow selling jewelry over the Internet.
Will the police come to investigate your business? Was there a crime? Where did it take place? Is it an Israeli company? Rubins, who stresses that he is not an expert on criminal law, muses that if someone in Israel commits a crime against someone in, say, France, over the Internet, then it might be the responsibility of the French to open an investigation, trace the crime to Israel, and approach the Israeli police about it.
Seely sees the problem as extremely serious and growing: InBen-Asulin was indicted by the United States for securities fraud, and last month he was convicted of fraud by an Israeli court for helping an Israeli credit card company, ICC-CAL, illegally clear billions of shekels of charges from porn, binary options and gambling websites, as well as conceal the number of canceled transactions.
All of them knew they were entering something risky. The Times of Israel contacted Yaron-Eldar to ask her about alleged fraud within the binary options industry.
To the extent that this is true, she said, it applies to unregulated companies. It is very careful to follow the law. It is being watched all the time. In fact, Yaron-Eldar insists that AnyOption is not an Israeli company at all. Indeed, a perusal of anyoption. How does she explain this discrepancy? The company they work for is a service provider to the company in Cyprus.
This means that it, and many others like it, is subject to Cypriot law and regulation, not Israeli law. Since much of the regulated part of the binary options industry is subject to Cypriot regulation, the honesty or dishonesty of those firms may hinge on the strength and honesty of Cypriot law enforcement.
The Times of Israel contacted the FBI to see if anyone had complained about forex or binary options call centers in Israel, but the agency did not respond. A French government spokeswoman, however, confirmed that France has been having problems with forex fraud emanating from Israel. We have had some cases between France and Israel, and we are in touch with the Israeli authorities about this.
There is a very good cooperation between the two countries and the two services on this issue. Ariel Marom, the mysteriously disappeared former forex employee who wrote that anguished letter to the Knesset, warned of the fallout when the extent of the corruption in the binary options industry in Israel is exposed.
Dan Guralnek, the Australian immigrant, has drawn his own conclusions. Guralnek recently became engaged to an Israeli woman. But he hopes to persuade her to move back to Australia with him, in part because of the high cost of living that drove him to work in binary options in the first place, and in part because of the corruption he has encountered.
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By Simona Weinglass March 23, Simona Weinglass Simona Weinglass is an investigative reporter at The Times of Israel. Itzik Shurki of the ISA Courtesy. Tali Yaron-Eldar Screenshot Channel Like us on Facebook Get our newsletter Follow us on Twitter. Illustrative image of people working in finance via Shutterstock.
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