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Binary Options- CFTC Fraud Advisory


Binary Options Fraud

Binary Options fraud is on the rise in recent years as regulators and government agencies continue to receive hundreds of complaints with losses totaling in the millions of dollars in the United States alone. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) has issued a Fraud Advisory concerning Binary Options due to the increased number of victims of these schemes. The CFTC is hoping to educate investors in order to prevent them from falling victim to these schemes.

What are Binary Options?

Binary options are essentially betting contracts. A binary option is a type of option contract in which the payout is “all or nothing” depending on the outcome of a yes/no proposition.  The contract specifies a return depending on the price of the underlying asset at a particular date and time. For example: 10% return if the price of ABC stock is above $9.37 at 4pm on December 1st 20xx. If the answer is yes you get the promised return and if the answer is no you get nothing.

The term “option” in binary option is misleading. Unlike the traditional option contracts that give the investor the right to exercise the option and purchase or sell the underlying asset, binary options do not give investors any “option.” Binary option contracts are automatically exercised at expiration and either give the investor the predetermined return or nothing at all. There is no right or obligation to purchase or sell the underlying asset.

Differences Between Traditional Options and Binary Options

Binary options are very different from traditional option contracts. While option contracts are generally well known investment products with known risks and trade on established trading exchanges, binary options differ significantly in associated risks and trading. While some binary options are listed and traded on registered exchanges, the majority of binary options trade via Internet-based trading platforms that do not necessarily comply with U.S. regulatory requirements. This means that in addition to the risks associated with the purchase or sale of binary options, there is a higher risk of fraud based upon the unregulated online trading platforms they use.

CFTC and Designated Contract Markets

It is illegal for entities to solicit, accept offers, offer to or enter into commodity options transactions with US persons, unless those options transactions are conducted on a designated contract market. This includes contract for foreign currencies and metals just to name a few. To determine whether an entity/platform is a designated contract market, you can check the CFTC’s website.

The internet-based trading platforms typically used for trading binary options allow perpetrators of binary option fraud to find their victims on the internet. These websites are usually operated by individuals overseas and these companies go to great lengths to get investors. Once an investor sends money to the platform it is unlikely that he/she will ever see that money back from the fraudsters.

The individuals operating these platforms usually find a way to keep the investor’s money. Whether by changing the terms of the binary option so as to make it a “losing” bet or by simply placing a freeze on the account when the investor tries to make a withdrawal, the only thing that is certain is that investors will not be getting that money back from the fraudsters.

Due to the overseas operations of most of these trading platforms, bringing the criminals to justice and getting investor funds back is usually very difficult. However, our law firm looks at all potential responsible parties for recovery.


The CFTC has created a list of foreign entities that illegally solicit U.S. resident to trade in binary options and Forex. It is called the “RED List” which stands for “Registration Deficient.” These entities are required to be registered with the CFTC in order to solicit and accept funds from U.S. retail investors for trading in binary options and forex.

The RED List can be found at: www.SmartCheck.gov/REDList.

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Have you been a victim of Binary Option Fraud?

The Silver Law Group can help you bring a claim against all of the responsible parties to help you recover your losses. If an investor suffers losses as a result of binary option fraud they may still be able recover their losses from those that facilitate the fraud. Contact  the Silver Law Group today at ssilver@silverlaw.com or call us toll free at (855) 755-4799. You can also fill out the form on this page and one of our attorneys will contact you.

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