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EverFX group named as part of £2 billion fraud

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EverFX, a financial trading firm based in Cyprus, allegedly cold-called dozens of British people to persuade them to invest. Spanish police named the firm among 470 others suspected of being involved in a £2 billion fraud.

What tactics did EverFX use?

EverFX (now rebranded as Axiance) has been accused of cold-calling would-be investors, a tactic now banned as it can put pressure on people to make ill-judged decisions. It is alleged that people who did invest with the company were further pressured into paying in more money, and others handed over control of their trading accounts to ‘brokers’ from the company. Some were denied access to their money, unable to withdraw it, and were eventually told their investments were worthless.

One investor, who had already invested £35,000 with EverFX, gave a man she believed to be her financial adviser remote access to her bank account, then watched in horror as he attempted to apply for a loan in her name so she could invest more. The same investor had also been asked to transfer money to an intermediary, another tactic used by scammers to divert funds.

It is reported that another investor lost £6,500 in one week after being “sucked in” to their claims that they would make him lots of money. Deep down he knew what they were promising was unattainable, but by then it was too late.

In May 2021, Government-backed City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stopped EverFX from offering financial products known as ‘Contracts for Differences’ (CFDs), to UK investors. While another company in the same group of firms, ICC Intercertus Capital Ltd, was temporarily regulated in the UK, EverFX was not.

The FCA identified “serious concerns with the sales and marketing practices of the EverFX Group”, including pressure tactics and not sufficiently explaining risks to investors.

CFDs are considered an advanced trading strategy used by experienced traders. Traders will effectively bet on whether the price of an underlying asset will rise or fall. The CFD industry is not highly regulated, it can be extremely volatile and therefore risky.

EverFX also encouraged people to invest in cryptocurrency, foreign exchange (forex), stocks and other assets. These are high-risk investments and often people don’t fully understand that they could lose a significant proportion of their money.

The UK cryptocurrency market is currently being overhauled to become better regulated, which will be welcome news to wannabe investors.

The FCA maintains a register of regulated firms on its website and is an excellent starting point. FCA regulation offers peace of mind for individuals and businesses that the financial markets in the UK are “honest, competitive and fair”. Financial firms must follow a set of rules to ensure customers are protected, treated fairly and offered appropriate products and services.

The FCA website issues warnings about firms that are doing business without their authorisation. They have tools and information to raise awareness about the risks of investing online.

Warning signs for potential investors to look out for include:

  • The firm is unregulated in the UK or registered overseas
  • Promises of high rates of return
  • No discussion about the level of risk involved
  • Poor explanation about the fees and charges you’ll pay
  • Pressure to act quickly, as an offer is time-limited
  • Endorsements from influencers and celebrities, particularly on social media
  • Peer pressure from friends and family

Take your time and do your research. Make sure the investment is suitable for you, your circumstances and your needs. Always get professional advice from an independent financial adviser.

Sarah Spruce, Head of TLW Solicitors’ specialist fraud claims team, commented:

“We understand that people feel embarrassed about being tricked in a scam and may not even have told their friends or family. It is important that any financial loss you suffered as a result of fraud is reported to the police and your bank. Your bank should start an investigation and try to recover your money.

Our team understands the complaints, claims and appeals procedures in detail, including the time limits that apply, and paperwork required. We offer a free, no-obligation assessment of your case and will make a decision on whether or not to pursue your claim. Get in touch to see if we can help.”

You can call us on 0800 169 5925, email info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or complete either the make a claim online or callback forms below.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible as strict time limits can apply.

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