A popular currency trading website that gained popularity with small investors suddenly disappeared earlier this year, and could have taken more than $US1 billion with it, Bloomberg reports.
Secureinvestment.com — which was briefly more popular than widely-trusted currency trading platform forex.com — vanished to the dismay of the many small investors who trusted the site with their savings.
According to Bloomberg Markets:
Secure Investment said that it traded in excess of $US4.8 billion daily for more than 100,000 investors in 140 countries. The company said it posted all of its trades every day, showing which ones were winners and which were losers. The site said investors had averaged net gains of 1 per cent each trading day during the past five years…
The site said that those average gains of 1 per cent daily couldn’t be compounded into an annual return. Even without compounding, those kinds of daily returns would amount to an annual gain of about 250 per cent — or more than 25 times the average annual return of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, with dividends reinvested, for the past 50 years. Secure Investment didn’t provide that kind of context.
But the site disappeared in May this year. Rajibuddin Mandal, a doctor in England, told Bloomberg that he received an email from Secure on April 30: “Our Technical Department is currently working on system updates. Our company sincerely apologises for any temporary glitches that may occur.”
The website went offline the next day and it doesn’t look like it’s coming back. According to Bloomberg, Mandal’s entire $US60,000 investment has probably disappeared forever.
Here’s what the site looked like in August 2013:
Secure Investments was linked to a fake address in Panama, as well as invented offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and London. Customers were asked to transfer funds to banks all over the world and were fobbed off with excuses when they attempted to withdraw the money.
The news also serves as a bit of a warning about believing video testimonials. Many of those on secureinvestment.com were done by actors. Bloomberg explains:
Secure’s website included 54 video testimonials, supposedly from investors; a six-minute infomercial; and three animated cartoons.
One testimonial is from a bearded man wearing a jacket and tie. After introducing himself as Michael, he praises Secure in an 80-second video. He says he’s pleased with his return on investment.
“Every year, I’ve watched my ROI grow,” he says. “I’m getting closer and closer to my retirement goals. They take all the stress out of it.”
Michael is actually Al Eddy from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Eddy, 42, who has recorded video endorsements for a fee, says he was hired by an intermediary for Secure and paid $US20 to perform as Michael. He says he’s never invested with Secure, nor traded forex nor even purchased a share of stock. Nothing he said in his endorsement is true, Eddy says, adding that he no longer does testimonials.
The site’s been gone for around six months and it doesn’t look like it’s coming back.