A Bad Experience With a Privacy Breach On the Side: An IntelFX Review, Worst Broker Ever

Those of you who have some idea of which brokers I like to test systems on know that I am very glad to test any broker which has convenient deposit/withdrawal options and cent accounts despite their regulatory status. I do this both because I like to give them a chance and because these are the brokers where new and small traders are most likely going to deposit their funds since they offer the best possibilities regarding money management (small lot sizes on cent accounts allow you to adequately trade systems and portfolios without too much capital). Today however I am going to talk about when a broker-testing experience goes terribly wrong as was the case with IntelFX. This experience has taught me a few things which I would like to share with you on this post.

Why IntelFX? The story starts when I was looking for a broker near the end of 2010 to test a system we had just developed in Asirikuy called Sapaq. I needed three brokers in which to test this portfolio and LiteFX and InstaForex were my first two options, I was missing a third. Then – while looking through a Forex broker site – I found IntelFX which provided convenient deposit/withdrawal methods (such as credit cards and paypal) which I could use to easily deposit/withdraw small amounts of money to test a Sapaq portfolio cent account. Since the amount of money involved wasn’t large (only 200 USD) I decided to give this broker a chance with the intent to open somewhat larger accounts in the future (2-10K) if they proved to be a reliable solutions.

To tell you the truth things didn’t seem bad in the beginning, moderately decent execution (although Asirikuy systems are far away from being scalpers or needing very good execution to succeed), a good website layout and a convenient and straight-through way to deposit and withdraw money. Then things started to turn sour from a trading perspective as I noticed how InstaForex and LiteFX were in the green and InstaForex was in the red. After discovering time array mismatch errors and correcting them on IntelFX it was obvious that server updates were not good and there were some terrible issues with the way in which the feed was being handled. To add insult to injury last week there was a complete “hole” on the trading history with daily bars missing from about March to early June. How are you supposed to calculate a 14 period daily ATR when you have 60+ days missing from recent history? No wonder why IntelFX had so much broker divergence when compared with the other two brokers!

Then the crown jewel was an email I received from a guy who was saying that IntelFX was a scam and that they wouldn’t give him 27K USD he had deposited with them. The surprising part about the email was not the scam part but a link to a public forum were someone had posted a csv file which contained  account information of apparently ALL IntelFX customers (with me included). It is quite unnerving to have your name, last name, email, broker phone password, telephone, home address, account number and deposit amount posted publicly on the web. Luckily I custom generate all passwords for brokers (never repeat passwords, it is a serious security risk) so I don’t have any further problem because of this but certainly it is just horrible to see that my private information is just there on the public eye. Also note that I didn’t give them any credit card information (all deposits were through e-currency processors like paypal) otherwise I would have cancelled them already.

Although I already had made the decision to stop using IntelFX merely due to their feed issues it is now clear to me that they are a terribly bad broker which does not even take privacy seriously. I have requested a withdrawal of all the deposited capital (which sadly not surprisingly still hasn’t gone through) and after fighting “support” they now say that all withdrawals will be processed on Monday (although I do not have much hope). For me this is just a little bit more than an inconvenience (as I understand the importance of trusting and knowing brokers when depositing large sums of money) but for a few it was a large hit. Adding the customer data available freely online total deposits are around 1.7 million dollars so some people must be pretty upset if they really turn sour and negate all withdrawals (at least the website is still online now).

For those of you who are looking for brokers for testing there are a few pieces of advice which are useful when choosing a broker which might not be regulated. First, choose brokers which have been active for at least 4-5 years, I have been trading with both LiteFX and InstaForex for almost 5 years now and both have always been decent brokers. It is also very positive when a broker has the ability to send you a debit card since you know you can easily “withdraw” your money without requiring any broker intervention. Debit cards are therefore a big plus for me when deciding. Also – if possible – it is always better to only use these brokers for limited testing (or when strictly necessary) and use regulated brokers whenever you’re investing large amounts of money. I would have to say that many unregulated brokers are still very decent, well-managed businesses but the terribly bad brokers (not to say scammers) – like IntelFX – do show up from time to time. This will however not stop me from testing new brokers as I am always keen on giving them the benefit of the doubt with small amounts of money :o)

If you would like to learn more about my work in automated trading and how you too can learn how to build and trade your own algorithmic trading strategies please consider joining Asirikuy.com, a website filled with educational videos, trading systems, development and a sound, honest and transparent approach towards automated trading in general . I hope you enjoyed this article ! :o)

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8 Responses to “A Bad Experience With a Privacy Breach On the Side: An IntelFX Review, Worst Broker Ever”

  1. McDuck says:

    Daniel,

    to never repeat passwords, do you any recommendation to store them in a safe way?.
    To store them in a windows based system has always looked to me a bit dangerous, but it’s probably better than repeating passwords.

    Best.

    • admin says:

      Hi McDuck,

      Thank you for your post :o) I do not store passwords in any way but rely on powerful memory techniques. For example what I do often is take groups of nouns I am very familiar with (such as for example a group of 5 fruits) and combine them with numbers I am familiar with (such as my best friend’s phone number). I ultimately have about 60 passwords derived from about 30 different such nouns and numbers. This has worked great for me although I don’t know if it would for others :o) Thanks again for your post,

      Best Regards,

      Daniel

  2. Al says:

    Hi Daniel,
    Does RAFMM (Russian regulation, both instaforex and litefx) give you similar confidence as would fsa,nfa or bafin? Although it is better than no regulation, would you put considerable amount of money with any broker not regulated by major european/us regulations? Also, both instaforex and litefx have some bad reviews on forexpeacearmy, while instaforex even has there a scam investigation pending status. What is your opinion?
    Thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi Al,

      Thank you for your comment :o) I fully trust InstaForex and LiteFX and have considerable amounts of money with both (because of my experience with them) but certainly I have more money with European brokers (especially FSA regulated) which are of course much more trust-worthy from a regulatory perspective. Regarding the review in Forex Peace Army, I asked instaforex about it and the response is related to the fact that they expose themselves to certain forms of broker arbitrage (like they do by providing a 30% bonus and swap-free acocunts) which some traders take advantage of, they do not allow withdrawals in cases were the bonus is abused or when arbitrage attempts against their user agreement are made. However I have withdrawn money several times from both of these brokers and have never had any problems. As I said I only speak through my personal experience and obviously it is up to each trader to determine which broker they want to trade with :o) (also both LiteFX and FXopen offer debit cards which you can use to withdraw directly from your accounts). Thanks again for your comment!

      Best Regards,

      Daniel

  3. maxim says:

    Daniel,

    Thanks for letting us know about that problematic broker.
    Have you found any relation between it and Intel itself?

    Maxim

    • admin says:

      Hi Maxim,

      Thank you for your comment :o) As far as I know the “Intel” part is just a marketing coincidence,

      Best Regards,

      Daniel

  4. Peter says:

    Good Article. I had a look at the IntelFx website. One indication that they are not really reliable is that they haven’t even taken the time to use correct English grammar on the main page. Hiring a translator isn’t all that expensive. So they appear to be cutting every conceivable corner, which doesn’t bode well for their clients.

    Love your blog.

    Peter.

  5. Ra says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Which European regulated Broker is good in your experience? I have an account with Alpari UK but their customer service is in my opinion not that good (communication with them is difficult as they take long time to answer emails or don’t answer at all).

    I would like a broker that would allow you to start with small accounts but be safe to grow in the future to much larger accounts. Dukascopy seems good but they don’t have yet live trading with mt4.

    What are the best options?

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