FINRA issued an investor alert on binary options trading, pointing to similar Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and SEC alerts that already warn investors as to the dangers and extreme risk associated with trading binary options.
Binary options are different than other types of options contracts because unlike the others, binary options are all-or-nothing: when this product expires, it either makes a certain level of money or nothing at all—there is nothing in between—so if that preset level isn't reached, the investor stands to lose the entire investment.
FINRA issued this alert because it has received more calls suggesting that binary options scams are on the rise, especially those originating outside of the United States.
For instance, investors report that callers purporting to be binary options trading firms have attempted to extort fine money out of investors, failed to deposit funds into the investor's account, denied requests to return such funds, or have pressured investors to send additional money, which, according to FINRA, is a textbook red flag of fraud.
FINRA urges investors to research binary options trading platforms and the options themselves before closing to invest in these products:
> By visiting the CFTC's website, which lists designated contract markets offering binary options.
> By consulting the SEC's EDGAR database, which includes registration information.
> By determining whether the binary options trading platform is registered as exchange on the SEC's exchange website.
> By using FINRA BrokerCheck and the Background Affiliation Status Information Center (BASIC) to study the registration status and history of any firm, broker or financial adviser who is selling any investment product.
If you have invested with an unscrupulous broker or firm whose failure to conduct adequate due diligence on an all-or-nothing binary options product has led to increased or excessive fees or a failure to pay funds that has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.
Investor Alert: Binary Options: These All-or-Nothing Options Are All-Too-Often Fraudulent (FINRA)