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Phone scams by St Binary or Boiler Room 2.0

St Binary

Fraudulent schemes in binary options trading have been in the media spotlight recently. The latest high-profile cases were in Israel in 2016, when the prosecutor's office received numerous complaints about such companies.

The Times of Israel decided to begin its investigative reporting on the fraud. While for customers, who want to return their money, it is not an easy thing to contact a scam broker, getting a job in such a firm is a breeze. They promote themselves here, there, and everywhere.

There are many job ads with a vague description in social networks. The Israeli journalist sent his resumé to one of these agencies. A few days later, he was contacted by an anonymous number and was invited to an interview.

When the reporter came to the meeting, it turned out that Metamorpha Management was not a recruitment office, but a binary options company called Binary St or St Binary.

Binary St office

It was found that the best candidates must have an excellent command of English and persuasion skills. 

A journalist was successfully given probation. Below are the inside facts about the phone scam from the sales agents of binary brokers.

How do binary brokers’ agents work?

The company’s office is located in Ramat Gan, Israel. There is a small room full of computers and phones. Three big television screens are booming Bloomberg TV. The background TV noise helps persuade customers on the other end of the line that they are talking to international experts who work in a financial hot spot. For similar reasons, staff is banned from speaking in a language other than English. They all call each other by fake names they use in their calls.

The work of a sales agent is aimed at persuading clients to deposit money in binary options trading by phone. Some agents with extensive experience are personal managers, giving recommendations on trades and in all ways encouraging customers to continue replenishing their deposits.

The working day often lasts from 11:00 am to 1:00 am to contact as many clients as possible. The sales agents drink a lot of coffee and energy drinks, which undoubtedly affects their emotional state. This is a real marathon. A whiteboard lists the names of all the employees. Columns detail their clients’ deposits.

Sales results board in Binary St office (photo by Iacopo Luzi)

Salespeople at Binary St (aka Smith and Taylor Options) are paid a wage of about $1,440 per month plus a bonus of every deposit they get from customers: $20 for an initial deposit of $250, $80 for a deposit of $500, and $120 for a deposit of $1,000.

“Once a client opened an account for $250,000 and the sales agent got a bonus of $25,000,” one of the employees said.

The sales agents make about 30 calls an hour on average, using a system that hides the phone number’s country of origin. Most often they pretend that they are calling from Zurich, Paris, or London.

Clients whom sales agents called were people who had provided their details after seeing some ad on the internet or had responded to email newsletters.  Sales agents had all personal information of customers, which they could see on their individual computer screens — first name, last name, country of origin, phone number, address, and even social security number.

The computer systems also enable them to see whether customers are logged in to their accounts.

It is easier to convince clients to trade when they are online, because they are ready to follow the manager’s instructions at the moment. After customers are convinced to make a first deposit, they are guided through a trading process and are told to invest more money.

The agents admit that they have no interest in the success of the client's trade; the goal is to make them deposit.

They talk in a friendly, but insistent manner. Sometimes it is even threatening.  Often customers just give up and agree to put in money. This is a kind of psychological violence, which works especially well with desperate and poor people.

Out of 70 calls, there are only a few when the client does not actually deposit funds or at least promises to do so.

If clients have an account that is blocked for international transactions, agents tell them to call their bank and unlock the payment. “It’s going to take five minutes,” the sales agent says.

“I will rob you blind.”

Before and after a phone call, the sales agents insulted customers. “I will rob you blind,” one agent said, muted.

Phrases the journalist heard made him believe that the binary broker’s employees would do almost anything to get their customers’ deposits. “This thing will change your life,” they assured clients. “You need to be a winner,” “You have a 70 to 80% chance to win here,” “Do you want to remain poor and miserable for the rest of your life?” “You will make a lot of money.” And this was only a small part of phrases, using which they tried to entice new customers.

The sales agents always reassured their clients and potential clients that Binary St is a regulated company, not a fraudulent firm like others. “We are professionals,” they said. “We make millions for our clients every day.”

The Times of Israel documented some of the numerous tricks that fraudulent binary options brokers use, having analyzed one day of work at Binary St.

1. Misrepresent themselves as investment experts, lying about their identities and location.

2. Take more money from a credit card than a client has agreed to deposit.

3. Make trades without clients’ permission.

4. Reject withdrawal requests.

5. Manipulate trades through rigged trading platforms.

Author of St Binary: Port | Date 2018-12-07
I want to share my experience at this awful broker. I deposited $2000 at Binary St and traded for almost a year. At first I was profiting well but when I reached a 50% profit, the platform started to malfunction. It freezes with an open position and returns only for me to see that I have already lost so much and the position was closed even though I did not set a stop loss. I reported it to the customer support and they told me that they will be working on it. But weeks have passed and nothing happened. I always lost every trade I made. So I decided to withdraw my fund and take a break from trading before I lose everything. But this broker told me that I am not allowed to withdraw anything and that they will close my account because I went against one of their rules. I asked for further explanation but they never responded to me again.
Author of St Binary: Axio | Date 2018-11-29
When I learned about Binary St, my family was having financial problems. Trading at this broker at that time was the only hope for me and my decision was set when I was able to talk to them and they promised me with return of profit. At first, they were very attentive. They helped me out on the trading movements I should do and offered to manage my account. Due to our financial constraints, I can only afford to risk $100. After a month of trading, they advised me to deposit again. I declined because we no longer have any source of money and trading was my only source of profit. But then when I didn't want to add another deposit, they got mad and my account manager traded without my permission and drained my balance. After that, they closed my account and never responded to my emails.
Author of St Binary: Yumi | Date 2018-11-22
I was a fool to fall for the tricks of Binary St. I started trading here with a $300 deposit and I had one trading adviser who guides me on my trading movements. A month has passed and I earned more than $150. Then my adviser told me to deposit again to increase my profit rate. I believed her and I added $500 (she recommended this amount). Then I continued trading. I earned again and the same thing happened. She told me not to withdraw yet so that I can earn more. And I believed her because when I added to my fund, my profit rate really increased. To make it short, I deposited a total of $1300. Then I decided that I wanted to withdraw already and I tried to be firm about it. But my adviser became furious and rude. And they kept declining my withdrawal request. In the end, they suspended my account and blocked my email. I can't contact them and I can't take back my money anymore.
Author of St Binary: Irina | Date 2018-11-15
It took Binary St less than half a year to take my $1000. My trading experience with them is not fruitful. I've constantly encountered problems in the platform which I though at first was only due to the volatility or my internet connection. I let it slide at first but as time passed by, the issues has occurred more frequently and it has become annoying. So I reported it to the support which they actually fixed. The platform has started to run smoothly. However, the problem now is that whenever I open a position, the price movement will suddenly go the opposite direction. It has happened all the time until my fund is almost zeroed. They tried to convince me to replenish my account but I was hesitating. They got mad at me when I couldn't decide and they closed my account. Now I know why I kept losing every trade. It's because they were manipulating the platform.
Author of St Binary: Ford | Date 2018-11-08
What Binary St did to me was manipulate my platform. I didn't know at first that they were deliberately doing something in my platform. I just thought that my skills and knowledge were inadequate. I didn't think bad of them even though I've noticed that every time I open a position, the price movement suddenly moves against me. That's because I never thought that they could do something like this. They sounded very professional and trustworthy every time I talk to them over the phone. And they even encourage me, saying that I just had to try again and that failure is part of the road to success. They convinced me to keep replenishing my account so I deposited a total of $1300. And as you could already guess, I just lost everything. Not even a penny returned.
Author of St Binary: Ellein | Date 2018-10-31
Early this year, my account at St Binary was closed and together with it was the disappearance of my money. I was contacted by this broker through email and I was invited to do binary trading. At first I was hesitant because I didn't know how to do trading. But they assured me that they would give me a personal manager who would guide me along the way. Then they told me more about the advantages of trading. That I would be able to earn a lot and so on. Coincidentally, at that time, my husband has lost his job and we are having financial crisis. They sounded professional so I was convinced to take the risk. But that just made our financial problem even worse. I used my credit card and deposited $250 and started trading. It was true, my manager really guided me, telling me what to do. However, his help has gone extreme as he traded without my permission. To which, he incurred losses. After that, he apologized and advised that I replenish my account. Since I was desperate, I did, using my credit card again, with an amount of $250. But then I was surprised that they took $500 from it. I don't know how they did that but after that transfer, my account has been closed and I have no access to it up to now.
Author of St Binary: Frioree | Date 2018-10-23
The people behind Binary St are those who live by fooling other people and stealing their money. I opened an account with this broker because when I tried their demo account, the experience was smooth and I felt like it would be worth it to trade with them. But no, I was wrong. I deposited $300. And while trading, I am being deducted with commission fees. Which they said I didn't have to worry about because it will be returned to me on my next deposit. So I deposited again with $100. And it was really returned. I guess it was around $50 dollars. But after that, the deductions went higher. It almost doubled up. They told me again that I just need to deposit to refund the fees. But this time, they advised me to put in a bigger amount so as to increase my margin level as well. They even suggested that I deposit $1000. I was convinced by them and I deposited $1000. Then after that, I couldn't open my account anymore. I tried to reach them through call, email, and live chat but to no avail. Now I lost my money and wasted my time.
Author of St Binary: Serlie | Date 2018-10-19
My first deposit at Binary St was $500. Then they convinced me to deposit more to be able to earn more. And as naive as I am, I listened to them and added $2000 to my account. After a few months, I earned more than $1000. I received an email from them congratulating me on my successful trading and suggested that I deposit more. They said that the more capital I have, the more profitable I will be. And so I did. I deposited $2500 so that my total deposit would amount to $5000. Things were going well. I was continuously earning for almost two years. BTW, they also suggested that I shouldn't withdraw early and just let my investment grow. But when I was to reach 3 years of trading, I needed to withdraw money for my brother's medical expenses. So I requested a withdrawal of $15,000. When I sent a request, they still tried to convince me not to withdraw. I explained my reason (which I realize now that I didn't need to do that) and they still tried to stop me until they became rude in talking to me. They even said I would lose the momentum once I withdraw and will not be profitable anymore. Their last reply to me was not to grant my request but to tell me to rethink my decision. They never gave me my funds in the end and I couldn't contact them anymore.

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