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 investment 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. View of high-tech office buildings in Herzliya Pituah. 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 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. 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. 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.
At some binary options firms, the online platform is manipulated to provide false results that ensure the customer loses. 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 2,800 people in Israel.
Some other companies on the list included iForex, bForex, AnyOption, 4XPlace, Optionbit and Banc de Binary. Based on these scams, 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, binary, are unregulated. Many customers had clicked on an ad hawking ways to earn money from home. I need it to pay binary this or that.
Pretty much the company just refuses to give it up. Additional clients were from Africa, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. How are you doing today? 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 scams her entire investment.
Trading binary options is made even riskier by fraudulent schemes, many of which originate outside the United States. 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. 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.
Can you imagine thousands of people in Tel Aviv out of work? They have the reputation of lying to their binary and misleading advertising.
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. 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. 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 investment 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.
In binary you see 70 percent coming in right away. The first step was to size up the 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 it you need to trade every day.
When the broker chose a stock for them to bet on, the stock would often perform 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. In fact, they encouraged people to take small withdrawals. When I tell people about this job, they are shocked. He said he was surprised at the sheer magnitude of the fast-growing industry. A casino hands you your 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 Investment 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. Ben-avi mentioned several companies known scams 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. Where is it coming from and where is it going? There are rules as to how someone can access money in a claim. 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. Shurki says a new law to regulate online financial trading industries went into effect in May The binary 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.
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. Its basis is problematic. 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 makes it decision, one might be forgiven for thinking, the binary options fraudsters will be out of business. 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? And that earning a living does not mean everything is permissible! As previously reported in The Times of Israel, about 10 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. 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. 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. The answer, it would appear, is no. That expertise has plainly scams applied by fraudulent binary options firms, binary 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 scams 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? If no one has complained about it, there is no issue. You want us to check every company in Israel and investment if by chance they are committing crimes? 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? 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. 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.
How investment 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. 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.
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.