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SA man scared he's been scammed of R115,000 through online trading site

10 May 2019 - 12:43 By Iavan Pijoos
A desperate South African is trying to get his money back after investing all he owned in a fraudulent online investing site.
A desperate South African is trying to get his money back after investing all he owned in a fraudulent online investing site.
Image: 123RF/Nonwarit Pruetisirirot

"I had no reason to mistrust them. What do I do? What can be done?"

These were the words of a despairing SA man who believes he has been scammed out of more than R100,000 through an online trading site.

The man, who asked not to be named, said he found an article on YouTube in December last year, claiming that South Africans are now investing in online trading. He followed the link and ended up on a website where he opened an account on the KontoFX website.

The 54-year-old man said he opened an account of €250 (R3,990).

"I had no reason to doubt it, they went through all the Fica [Financial Intelligence Centre Act] verification and this type of thing. I had no real cause to be concerned.

"You do start trusting some pages when they talk about politicians investing themselves.

"I invested more when the first investment of €250 went a bit south. I made some stupid trades."

He said since then he invested over €7,000 (R111,743) but had no access to his profit or the money he invested.

"Now that I actually made money, I couldn't draw anything out of the account. I am not even trying to withdraw the whole lot," he said. 

"Maybe I am at fault that I did not do the proper due diligence. But you do trust some pages when they start talking about our politicians investing themselves.

"If I had done more in-depth investigation I wouldn't have invested. I am desperate to get that money back, because I put myself into financial sh*t because it was everything I had," he told TimesLIVE.

The Malta Financial Services Authority had warned about the entity operating under the name of KontoFX. The entity claims to be a forex-trading broker providing a web trader platform.

MSFA said it seemed like a scheme of "dubious nature" with a high risk of losing money.

The regulator said KontoFX was not a licensed or authorised by them to provide investment and other financial services.

TimesLIVE reported in June 2018 that South Africans were among investors from around the world who lost money in an alleged internet trading scam that operated for more than two years from a massive call centre in the Philippines.

Complaints by victims led police to raid the call centre, where they arrested 482 employees.

Potential victims were convinced to invest stocks in a fake London company or Bitcoin. The suspects then obtained credit card and banking information from their victims.