Ever made a phone call you have regretted? Chances are that the caller behind a “Binary Options” trading firm is certainly wishing he didn’t pick up the phone on this occasion.
That’s because the firm, offering an “amazing investment opportunity”, made a call to Jason Roy of Manitoba. Unbeknownst to the caller, Roy is a senior investigator for the Manitoba Securities Commission and happily listened to their offer while pretending to be a high value investor but in reality gathering evidence against the company.
In a statement on the Manitoba Securities Commission website, Roy outlined that he is actually a member of the Canadian Securities Administrator’s special working group combating Binary Options investment fraud.
“I grabbed my notebook, and after confirming some details with an operator, I was connected to an individual identifying himself as Sean Bessi,” he said. “Bessi started to pitch me on the exact sort of illegal investments I’ve been investigating for the past two years. It was a bit surreal.”
According to the report, Bessi claimed he worked for a Central Option office in Toronto with the firm also having offices in Hong Kong and London. He explained that Binary Options trading was “very safe” and offered Roy a free education pack and $100 in credit to carry out some trading. He then walked Roy through the trading process and suggested on multiple occasions that he fund the account using his credit card or by wiring money. Roy was also informed that he wouldn’t have to pay taxes.
Binary Options, of course, see investors bet on the performance of an underlying asset – when that period is up investors receive a payout or lose the wager. It’s effectively an “all or nothing” gamble and on many occasions no trading actually takes place: often the sales pitch is just an effort to steal money.
It has since been confirmed that the Toronto office does not exist and the phone number associated with Central Options is a VOIP number going outside the country.