New Zealand authorities warn consumers to avoid Trade99

One of New Zealand’s financial regulatory bodies is warning consumers that, if contacted by a company called Trade99, they should run away – and fast. The country’s Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has determined that the company has been contacting residents with claims of incredible digital asset investment offers. However, in the end, it simply retains client funds. As a result, the FMA has given it the deserved brand of scammer.

The regulator posted a warning on its website about Trade99 yesterday, explaining, “We recommend exercising caution before dealing with Trade99 and the website www.trade99.com as Trade99 is not listed on the FSPR and is not an incorporated company in New Zealand.

“Individuals from Trade99 have been contacting New Zealand residents with investment offers, withholding client funds and has the hallmarks of a scam.”

The URL is a legitimate site and has all the appearances of being a fully functional company. The website indicates that the company is regulated by authorities in the European Union and that it offers an exchange and wallet service for digital assets. It adds on the site, “Trade99 is a trading platform like none other. We have one of the most dedicated and specialized teams of professionals who work passionately in conjunction with the customer demand to provide exceptional services.
“We offer competitive prices and ease of trading along with continuous support and safety to the customers. Trade99 has one of the world’s best customer support team always standing by your side. Our inimitable style, coupled with integral efforts of our team, has enabled us to emerge as a unique trading platform that caters to the need of every trader. Be it the novice or the professional, the hobby trader, or the daily grinder; our platform can be used equally by all.”

Apart from allegedly being licensed to operate in the EU, the company claims to be a part of the Financial Commission, an independent, “self-regulatory organization and external dispute resolution (EDR) body, that is dedicated specifically to Forex, digital currencies and blockchain.” Trade99 is found on the website’s list of members; however, so is ForexTime, which has also been accused of being a scam and not paying out withdrawal requests.

Finding out who is behind the site is a little trickier, which is never a good sign. A “whois” lookup on the domain name points to “namecheap.com” as the official registrar. Most legitimate companies don’t need to use a service like this to register their name, but it becomes pretty obvious why this registrar was chosen. The company offers a “service that offers privacy protection for your domain, keeping your sensitive data safe.” In other words, it hides the identity of the real owner of the site.

The bottom line is that Trade99 is reportedly operating in New Zealand as an unregistered, unauthorized company. That alone is enough to force individuals to avoid it. If the company is legitimate and wants to be taken seriously, then it needs to abide by the rules and make its operations more transparent.  

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.