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Get-rich-quick schemes: Forex trading seminars and unregulated online trading platforms for forex and binary options
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6 min. read

Get-rich-quick schemes are usually unregulated. Find out how to spot an investment scam, and learn how to protect yourself from falling prey to these scams.

Key takeaways
  • There is no such thing as "get rich quick". Investments take time to grow.
  • Be wary if you are promised exceptionally high or consistent profits.
  • Forex trading and binary options are commonly offered by unregulated online trading platforms.
"Get up to 85% profit in just 60 seconds! Make money 24/7, wherever you are! Sign up for a one-day seminar and walk away with sure-win trading skills on the forex market!"

Have you encountered these kinds of advertisements online?

These get-rich-quick schemes often promise high profits, with small amounts of upfront cash, at little to no risk. They typically have no verifiable track records, save for "customer testimonials" on their websites. Sounds familiar?

While they may appear attractive, you should steer clear of them after spotting these red flags. Many investors who deal with such get-rich-quick schemes often run into problems such as having their funds transferred to other entities, not being able to close their accounts, or reclaim their investment capital.

Consider reporting to the Singapore Police Force at 1800-722-6688 if you think you have been cheated.

Common get-rich-quick schemes

How do you spot a get-rich-quick scheme? Here are three of the most common ones:

Forex trading seminars

If someone offers to help you make amazing and consistent returns by teaching you all about foreign exchange trading: Be cautious!

Forex trading seminars are often advertised online and through marketing emails. Attracting participants with success stories: A chance to retire early, earn extra income or make some money after years as a homemaker, and so on. The tactics used are similar. Learn how to spot the tell-tale signs to protect yourself.

What to look out for:

  • Promises of large gains with little or no upfront cash
  • Potential for limiting loss and unlimited gains
  • Ability to make profits under all market conditions

How to protect yourself:

  • Don't believe the success stories. Many are not real testimonies.
  • Don’t pay hefty fees for seminars that claim to help you make fast money through "secret trading formulas". Chances are you won’t even get your money back.
  • Check the credentials of the so-called forex guru. Is the company regulated by MAS? Check the MAS Investor Alert List.
  • Don’t buy any ‘clever’ trading software that claims to predict market movements. No one can. If one could, one would be trading rather than teaching!
Online forex trading

Unregulated online trading platforms also promise to help investors make quick profits. Trading on these platforms is very risky.

What to look out for:

  • Online trading platforms that are not regulated by MAS — many of them are scams
  • Promises of high potential returns with little or no risks
  • Trading on leverage or margin — gains and losses are usually magnified with leverage

How to protect yourself:

  • Deal only with financial institutions (FIs) or entities that are regulated by MAS.
  • Look beyond the headline rates and consider how realistic the returns are.
  • Compare with other investment products. Does the expected return from online trading or forex trading justify the amount of risk you are taking on?
  • Consider the downside. Park aside the success stories and ask yourself: What if the worse happens? Can you withstand the risks?

MAS-regulated FIs that operate online trading platforms are subject to regulations aimed at safeguarding investors’ monies and assets. These measures include requirements for the operator to be fit and proper, and maintain segregated customer accounts, controls and records.


If you choose to trade on an unregulated online trading platform, you will lose the protection offered under MAS laws and regulations. You will be vulnerable to possible scams or difficulties in contacting, or resolving any grievances with such platforms.

Binary options

Unregulated online trading platforms also offer another form of investment instrument, known as binary options. A binary option is a financial option that references an underlying asset. An underlying asset could be stocks, commodities, currencies and interest rates.

The premise is simple. Bets are placed on whether an underlying asset will be above a certain price at a specific time or not. Options buyers either win or lose. The winning trade returns a pre-determined sum while a losing trade returns is zero. That's 100% loss of capital. Can you afford to lose it all?

What to look out for:

  • Unregulated online trading platforms often entice investors to invest in binary options with messages like:
    • “Trading with zero risks”
    • “Trading amounts of as little as $1”
    • “Profit payout of 500% per trade”

Although binary options may provide the potential for high profits, they also carry a higher risk of loss. There is a high chance of losing all your money, whether you deal with a regulated or unregulated entity.

How to protect yourself:

  • Beware of the high risks as binary options are usually an ‘all-or-nothing’ product. Binary option buyers either get some money or lose everything. Can you afford to risk it all?
  • Be familiar with the underlying assets which the option is based on. Underlying assets are complex investment instruments. Don't invest in anything you don't understand.
  • Be wary. Many unregulated binary options trading platforms are fraudulent and based outside Singapore.


Trading in binary options is not investing. It is gambling.

The reward for winning is less than the cost of losing. It is not worth risking all your hard-earned money. If you choose to trade with unregulated binary options trading platforms, you are unlikely to recover any monies lost. Also, if you deal with unregulated entities, you will not have access to avenues for resolution should a dispute arise.

See also: Dealing with unregulated persons


Before you trade: Things to note

Before parting with your money to trade on unregulated online platforms or engage in forex trading enrichment classes, take a moment to consider if it's right for you:

Take a reality check

If the individual or company claims to have a fool-proof method of ensuring high and consistent profits, why is he spending time trying to sell you software or a training programme?

Are you suited to fast-paced trading?

Online trading, which includes forex trading, is fast-paced. Forex trading in particular requires round-the-clock attention to the markets and rapid decision-making. Are you suited for such demands, or able to devote the time and attention required?

Do you understand binary options?

Binary options are susceptible to market risk. Like other options products, investors’ losses can be magnified by using binary options to speculate. However, binary options can represent an even higher risk, as they are usually an ‘all-or-nothing’ product. Trading in binary options without an understanding of the underlying asset is as good as gambling.

Do you understand what makes forex markets tick?

Forex markets are complex. Identifying and making sense of economic indicators, trade data and monetary policy statements that forex market professionals rely on require complex analysis and judgement.

Are you suited to high risk investments?

Trading on unregulated online platforms and forex trading can be very risky. The risks are further increased when you trade using leverage or on margin. With leverage, the gains and losses can be magnified many times. Are you able to tolerate this level of risk?

What is the downside?

Marketing testimonials may tempt you to think that everyone who trades makes significant profits. What you don't see is the individuals who have not done as well or who have suffered heavy losses. Always ask yourself what is the worst that can happen and whether you can withstand the risks.

Are the returns realistic?

The offers look attractive because the potential returns touted are huge. Look beyond the headline rates and consider how realistic the returns are. The risks could be equally massive, too. The potential of wiping out your capital (or more if you use margin) on a bad trade may not justify the potential returns promised.

Have you compared the risk and return with other investments?

Before you go into a high-risk activity like forex trading or trading on unregulated online platforms, do take the time to research other investment products, too. Find out about likely returns and how much risk each of these products exposes you to. By comparison, does the expected return from online trading or forex trading justify the amount of risk you are taking on?

Remember: 'Get rich quick' is a myth

There is no such thing as a short-cut in investing. It takes time to grow your money. Before investing money, you should always Ask, Check and Confirm.

Learn more:

Last updated on 09 Nov 2020