I want to start this post by thanking all of the readers out there who helped unravel the Adrian Shiroma Forex scam. When I checked on the site back in January of this year, I discovered that we did enough damage that the scammers finally took the blog down and stopped operating under the name Adrian Shiroma.
Your help has saved many people from losing a lot of money. Here is an example of the comments that I have received:
“hello. thanks for the info i was about to let this guy to manage an forex account but luckily i google it firs .” – Eric
Now that this Forex scam has gone the way of the dinosaur, lets dissect it and see what you can look for in the future to do your due diligence before investing your money.
Obviously faked videos
The first post that I wrote about Adrian Shiroma wasn't as serious as maybe it should have been. At the time, it was so obviously a scam that I didn't see how anyone could fall for it. I didn't think that they would be around for long either.
Boy was I wrong.
This is the only video that they used in their marketing and after watching this video, that was the point where I decided that this was a scam. The deception is mainly built around the fact that Adrian Shiroma is supposedly Japanese and they are primarily marketing to Spanish speakers.
They thought that they could pull a “lost in translation” on potential clients.
There could be a legitimate Trader that does this, but if you do run into this situation, it is pretty easy to spot the scam. I do not speak Japanese, but when I watch the subtitles, they do not come close to matching what the woman is saying. For example, when “Shiroma” comes up the the subtitles, you should hear her say Shiroma within a sentence or two.
Never happens in the video.
In addition, this video was posted EVERYWHERE. I found this video posted on the usual sites (like YouTube below), but it also came up on video sites in other countries like Russia. Total video spamming and a big tip off.
Here is what I mean:
The bottom line is: review their marketing material carefully. Everyone makes a mistake and there are bound to be typos, but when you see such blatant discrepancies like in the video above, that is a huge red flag.
As I wrote about in my post about Mitsui FX, take a careful look at the broker(s) that a Trader is using. What the Adrian Shiroma guys did was put all these reputable brokers on their page, then they sneaked in their fake brokerage, Mitsui FX.
Here is a screen shot:
This makes things look legit, but when it came down to depositing money, you didn't have a chance to deposit with anyone else except MitsuiFX.
When I Googled: “MitsuiFX broker review” I got nothing. Not even a bad review.
That is the first sign that a broker is a fake. Even the best brokers will have bad reviews, there will always be disgruntled Traders who want to blame their own shortcomings on their broker.
But when there are no reviews, then you will need to do more digging. If no one on the forums has heard of that broker, then you should stay away. Yes, there is a chance that it is a totally new legit broker, but wait until they have built up some credibility before doing any business with them.
Things to look for on a website
A bad website design, a scam does not necessarily make. The Financial Education industry is notorious for being behind the curve when it comes to pretty website designs. Some of the best educators out there have sites straight out of the '90's…spinning dollar signs and all.
But there are certain elements of a website that could tip you off. In the case of Adrian Shiroma, he was using a free Blogger blog.
Do you really want to be giving thousands of dollars to a person who cannot afford the $75 a year to host a site?
What using a free blog also does is provide anonymity. They do not have to register a domain under their own name. Again, there are some quality, legit blogs out there that do use free blogging platforms, but the ones I have seen do not ask for thousands of dollars.
Another thing to look for is small weird things in the design. In the case of Adrian Shiroma, their broker's website had an unusual gap in the menu where they used to say that they were NFA regulated (and had to take it out).
Here is the screenshot:
Not something that you should jump to conclusions with by itself, but when added to the overall picture, it can be a clue. Also look for weird things like converting your money to a weird currency before you get to trade it.
The Adrian Shiroma scam made you convert to Bulgarian Lev (BGN). Totally suspicious.
Incomplete signup process
I never tried the sign up process myself, but a couple people emailed me and they said that it lead to a dead end. They were also not able to download Metatrader or the broker's proprietary platform, which should be a major tip off. Especially when it obviously says “MT4 Trading Platform” on the website.
A broker should be falling over themselves to give you a trading platform and get you started with a demo or live account.
I'm not sure how they got any customers with an incomplete sign up process, but they probably did some filtering on the back end before contacting their potential investors.
Unverified trading results
It is not always possible to verify a Trader's performance, for a variety of reasons. But if someone is posting their performance to a site like MyFxBook and you do not see the two green checks at the top of the screen that it is a verified account, then you know something is up.
Getting an account verified is not that hard. Here is what Adrian Shiroma's account report page looked like:
Notice the two red X's at the top. This simply means that they could have taken any ol' Metatrader report and uploaded it to MyFxBook.
Another thing to watch out for is reporting systems that seem to be like MyFxBook that say an account is verified, but it is really not. Their definition of “verified” may be different.
Here is what the MyFxBook blog has to say about account verification. Other sites may not be as strict. I have my doubts about sites like FXStat, but I know MT4i is another good reporting site.
So if they are posting their trading results, be sure to check for these things.
The biggest lesson I learned from this scam
Besides the above, I learned a few things myself.
Fighting these scammers is a pain in the ass. They started using my picture as the face of the scam and I was able to take most of them down from the major US websites, but there are still a few sites that I cannot get my picture removed from.
I started a site called AdrianShiroma.org to try and document the scam and keep it off this blog and that probably helped, but it was time taken out of my busy schedule to set that up.
This group of scammers is plugged into a few websites that have a very high ranking, in spite of being total spam factories. As a result, they are able to get some fake articles and pictures about me ranked highly in Google.
Here are a couple of examples. Yes, I took the liberty of editing their pictures to put in my website address. They are not the only ones who can use Photoshop…bastards. I want these pictures to rank alongside the ones the scammers created so it leads people to the AdrianShiroma.org website, which explains the story.
By looking at these pictures, both you and I know that these are totally fake because the pictures they used are just stolen from my public social media profiles and the pages they are on have nothing written on them.
The articles are equally ridiculous. Google my name and see what you find.
On the bright side, I firmly believe that there is not such thing as bad publicity. So anyone with even the slightest bit of curiosity will follow the trail and end up with the full story on this blog.
But other people jump to conclusions easily, including potential business partners, potential girlfriends and the like, might not understand what is going on and take it at face value. I could live with that if I was getting a bounty for each scam that I took down.
Unfortunately, I'm not. So…
So going forward I'm not going to be blogging about these scams. I have thought long and hard about this and it really pains me to say it, but it is better for both you and I. On one hand, exposing these scams helps a lot of people save their hard earned money.
On the other hand, exposing these scams takes a lot out of me, both physically and emotionally. That energy could be better used towards creating useful content and products for this blog and towards my trading. I am only one person and I need to conserve my time and energy.
It's not worth the headache.
However, I hope you learned a few things from this post that will allow you to spot a scam in the future. I think that in spite of the hassle to me, this is valuable information.
I know for a fact that this scam has popped up under another name and will probably continue to do so as long as those guys are alive. They have also tried to attack me with viruses via email and Twitter.
It will be a never ending cycle.
I'm not going to get caught up in the negative mentality, let's focus on the positive.
The best thing that I can do with my time and energy is create the best Forex content on the internet and help you become a successful Trader. This will have a greater impact on the world by empowering you (and others around the world) to become more self sufficient and I believe that in turn will attract more people away from these scams.
You may not agree with me, but I hope you understand. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below.