Since The Times of Israel’south initial investigation into “The Wolves of Tel Aviv” — the bloodcurdling forex and binary options scam in State of israel — we have been contacted by dozens of ex-employees and victims of the industry seeking to share their experiences. We’ll get to the victims in more detail in subsequent articles. This Q and A focuses on the cunning processes by which the ostensible “investors” — actually naive marks who are beingness inveigled into gambling in a rigged casino — are reeled in and fleeced.
Joshua, a new immigrant from the Us, recently worked as a “conversion amanuensis” for a mid-sized binary options firm exterior Tel Aviv. His job was to call people around the globe and persuade them to “trade” on an online binary options platform — to requite him their greenbacks — by promising them high profits when, in fact, he told us,
every single client
with whom he worked ultimately lost all of their money.
It is estimated that many hundreds of thousands of customers around the world have been defrauded in similar ways over the past several years, all with the seemingly tacit consent of Israeli regulatory and law-enforcement authorities — the
tacit consent of the Israeli authorities.
The visitor Joshua worked for continues to defraud people daily from its offices in Ramat Gan.
How did y’all get involved in binary options?
My job at the fourth dimension was ending and I was frantically looking for something else. My married woman was pregnant. I had to get some kind of chore. I had lots of experience in sales because I had worked in my family’southward business, an insurance agency. One time I sent my CV to online trading companies, I got calls from one binary options visitor afterwards another. I chose 1.
Who were your customers?
Mostly Indians and Nigerians. You were lucky if you got a European customer, especially a German. They were the about eager to merchandise, and they deposited money in euros or pounds rather than dollars, which was better for us.
Nosotros weren’t allowed to sell to Americans or Israelis. I remember we had trouble with one Iranian guy. Because of the sanctions, the credit card companies wouldn’t work with them, so we had to tell him that we couldn’t “assist” him.
How much money did people requite yous?
Our minimum eolith started out as $200. Later we wouldn’t permit anyone to get started for less than $250. Some people in places like India and Nigeria borrowed money from family and friends. Some of them are desperate. They think, “this is my chance to get rich,” and they’re willing to have the risk.
Non everyone deposits. Y’all spend 2-3 minutes on the phone with each person and afterward twenty or 30 people, one will deposit.
I could call 250 people a twenty-four hour period. My mouth was tired after. Maybe I got 12 deposits a day, anywhere from $250 to $1,000. The retention agents could get more than coin (from clients who had already made their initial eolith, and were now on board). They could go $five,000 or $10,000, especially from Europeans and Canadians.
I recall one client in particular, a guy from Pakistan. He was nearly to get married and he borrowed money to invest so he could accept a nice hymeneals.
He gave me $500, which is a lot of money in Pakistan. We spoke on Skype, he gave me his credit carte du jour information and information technology went through. Two or iii days after he had lost all his money trading. He asked me, “What’s going on?”
I was told not to respond. I was told to block him on Skype.
After the initial deposit the client was sent to the retention team. If the client was using a robot (a computer program that trades for clients, supposedly to eliminate the psychological pitfalls of trading), they would say, “At that place’due south this new robot and it’southward been having a really high success rate for each trade but in lodge to qualify you lot need to eolith ten number of dollars.”
Otherwise the retention agent might say, “I specialize in gold, I’ve been watching it. If you put $1,000 on this merchandise right now, you’ll get good results. I tell all my clients to do information technology and I’m doing it myself.” Some of the best retention agents could attract deposits of tens of thousands of dollars per day.
If a merchandise is successful, clients earn between 60 and 80 percent of the amount they put on the trade. If it isn’t, they lose it all. People gradually lose all their money. But the managers also go along track of the success of every business relationship. If a customer is doing well, the managers will change the probabilities for that business relationship; they will arrive less likely for that person’due south trades to be successful.
Merely what if the customer predicted that aureate will go up and they’re right?
Then nosotros come up with some excuse. We say in our terms and conditions that the rates at the end of the trade may not really be the rate at time merchandise closed, that there is delayed reporting. (Other ex-employees of binary options companies have detailed other ruses to The Times of State of israel. According to i ex-employee of a firm that employs over ane,000 people in a loftier-rise office building in Tel Aviv, losses are guaranteed because the “dealing room” at the binary options firm controls the trading platform — like the crooked ownership of a rigged casino manipulating the roulette wheel. Amidst the numerous ruses employed to guarantee customers ultimately lose their money, as detailed past this ex-employee: encouraging customers to make bad trades; showing customers inaccurate figures; non allowing customers to trade on certain assets; creating “mock” traders to suggest that a certain trade is popular; selling clients’ assets unbidden; making “trades” unbidden.)
How did you get customers to go on putting money in?
Some agents are good judges of character. We besides look at their houses on Google maps to appraise how much coin they take and how far we can button them. If they hold to a bonus (an ostensible gift of funds from the company), they’re stuck because they agreed (in accepting the bonus) to trade multiple times its value. A large percent of people take the bonus. Somewhen people get tapped out, though, and desire to go out. We never kept the customers for very long.
What if the customer said, I’m done, give me what’due south left of my coin?
If they had accustomed a bonus, that meant they agreed to exercise a certain corporeality of trades, and then we said sorry. The client would start swearing and we would hang up the phone and never have their calls once more.
Did any customers withdraw money?
No. I never saw a unmarried scenario where someone withdrew their money.
I remember one fourth dimension we received likewise many credit card chargebacks. I guess customers were realizing this is a scam and reversing the charges. We couldn’t take credit card payments for a while.
The managers were freaking out. They gave us lists of idle accounts, and told us to clean them out. We called the people and said, “You know you lot’ve got 200 euros here and information technology volition cost you a fee to withdraw it, it’southward not worth information technology. Why don’t you use a new trading robot that’due south been really successful?” The customers would sign up to use the trading robot and in a couple days their money would be gone.
What made you make up one’s mind to quit?
I started to wait for a new job well-nigh two weeks into it. During my tiffin break I’d be on Facebook chore groups. My wife would see how shaken I was when I came home. Afterwards about six weeks I told my wife, “Even if it means we’re going to starve I tin can’t practise this job anymore.” It was destroying me. I felt awful almost myself.
They have huge employee turnover. People detest what they’re doing. Information technology’s clear to me why the industry is e’er looking for people.
I’d say the managers are non in the same category. They’re excited, they requite out booze and bring in food, put on music. Some of the managers brand telephone calls themselves. They’re really into it and don’t remember they’re doing anything incorrect.
Did you get a payslip?
No, I never did. They deposited my salary directly into my banking concern business relationship.
How many people exercise you think work in the manufacture in Israel?
Thousands. There’southward a new binary visitor all the time. It’s got to be 10,000, maybe more. I actually remember some people from abroad with British accents came to our function to learn how to set this up elsewhere. And then our managers were explaining, you have to take Internet at this speed, and this is how you train the agents. Evidently this is an export industry and Israel is exporting its expertise in binary options.
Did y’all tell anyone about your experience afterwards you left?
I had a married woman and a baby and I worried nigh getting sued if I said annihilation publicly about the company. But I was hoping that [it would come to light] and then I would attempt to explain what happened to me.
Did you go to the police?
No, information technology’due south non accounted illegal here. I tried to figure out how they’re able to operate in Israel. Information technology’s merely illegal to market place to Israeli citizens. It’due south immoral and it should exist illegal. I remember my wife and I were being interviewed to live in a religious community. I had already left the company but the rabbi asked me almost it. After I told him, his response was, “There are Jews doing this?”
Read: The wolves of Tel Aviv: Israel’s vast, amoral binary options scam exposed
Read: Times of Israel Editorial. Binary options: An Israeli scam that has to be stopped
Read: Why hasn’t Israel close downward binary options scam? A former MK describes how she tried