MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) scams are not particularly common, but they can happen, especially to newer and less experienced traders. MT4 is the most popular online trading platform worldwide. Its successor MT5, while not as widely used, is popular too, especially with newer brokers. Whenever a particular tool or software is widely used in online trading, scammers may try to exploit it. Today we will look at common MetaTrader scams, and how to avoid and report them.
Are MetaTrader 4 and 5 Safe?
MT4 and MT5 are completely safe and legitimate platforms many top brokers use. They are also extremely popular with forex traders, but as with almost any online activity, fraudsters will construct scams involving these platforms if they think they can benefit. MT4 and MT5 are safe to use, but scammers can still use them too. The fact a broker is using MT4 or MT5 does not automatically guarantee they are safe. Because MT4 is more popular, MT4 scams are perhaps more common, but scams involving either platform are possible, and tend to work in very similar ways.
Common Scams Found on MetaTrader 4 and 5
There are a variety of scams involving MT4 and MT5, so look out for them in all their forms. For example, not everything that looks like MT4 or MT5 software is as it appears. Fraudsters often successfully use fake trading platforms that operate on hacked versions of both MT4 and MT5. They essentially ‘clone’ the software, so it looks like you are using the genuine MT4 or MT5 platform when you are not.
Using these fraudulent MT4 and MT5 platform versions, scammers can persuade traders to invest with them, then scam them out of money. They can even simulate transactions to make it appear as if traders are making money, giving victims a false sense of confidence, which may encourage them to invest even more using the fraudulent system.
Some top brokers are known for being reliable MT4 and MT5 trading providers, but please be careful even when you are signing up with a reputable broker. Scammers can clone top brokers’ websites and persuade new traders (who think they are on the legitimate broker’s site) to sign up with them. And clone means just that: smart scammers can make a website look exactly like the genuine site, with the same branding, logos, and even content, so it is not surprising some traders are taken in.
It is also possible to fall victim to a scam while using a legitimate broker and a legitimate MT4 or MT5 software version. There are various third-party apps and add-ons that work with MetaTrader software, and you may be sold a fraudulent version of one, such as an Expert Advisor (EA) tool, a technical indicator, or a signals tool. Signal seller scams are particularly common, and involve traders being sold trading software that provides buy and sell signals. While there are some legitimate signals tools out there, there are also plenty of scammers who will provide fraudulent software that either provides worthless signals or, in the case of fraudulent brokers, signals that can even work against the trader to benefit the broker.
Forex education scams are also very common, so be wary of anyone selling you information products such as MT4 or MT5 tutorials, guides, or eBooks. These may be low-quality, worthless, or even misleading. If you sign up with a reputable, genuine MT4 or MT5 brokerage, you will usually find they have their own guides or video tutorials on how to use the platform, which are generally free-of-charge for their clients.
How to Avoid Scams on MetaTrader 4 and 5
You can help protect yourself against MT4 and MT5 scams by looking out for a range of red flags. When using MT4 or MT5, always use a regulated broker, and double-check they are genuine by looking them up on the regulator’s site and ensuring the registered URL and contact details are identical to those on the site you are using.
When it comes to signal sellers and EA software providers, be careful of anything that seems suspicious, such as promises of unusually high or guaranteed returns. Fake vendors tend to over-promise to make you buy what they are selling. They will also often exert time pressure by insisting this is a special offer that will not be available for long.
When buying or downloading any extra trading software, indicators, charts, or other tools, make sure they are genuine, from a reputable source, and have good, authentic-looking reviews from other traders. Be particularly wary of any unsolicited trading advice you receive from random ‘fellow traders’ online, and any trading tool they may try to sell you.
How to Report a Scam Broker
If you have been the victim of any kind of forex scam, including MT4 and MT5 scams, you can report it to the governing body in your country, such as the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in the US. Along with contacting the relevant regulator, you can report forex fraud to Police in your country. Some Police forces have systems set up specifically to report this type of crime. For example in the UK, you can report any type of fraud, including suspected forex scams, to Action Fraud, and in the US you can report any internet crime, including forex fraud, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
MT4 and MT5 scams can happen at any time to any trader, although less experienced traders may not be as well-equipped to spot them. Always look out for red flags that indicate something could be a scam, and check that the brokers and software you use are genuine, and not cloned or hacked versions of a legitimate site or tool. Use caution when it comes to third-party signal sellers, EA providers, or anyone trying to sell you trading tools or forex education resources online. If you think you have been the victim of an MT4 or MT5 scam — or any kind of forex or investment scam — report it to the relevant authorities as soon as possible.