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James Deakin Says He Lost Over P644,000 in Online Trading App

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Read the update here.

Journalist, host, and influencer James Deakin says he has lost a significant amount of money through an online stock trading app. 

In a note posted online on Tuesday afternoon, Deakin said he started investing in the stock market in April 2021 after being persuaded by, presumably, friends and acquaintances.

“’It will be fun’ they said. ‘Give it a try’ they said,” Deakin wrote. “So I only agreed if my son would help me open an online trading account and help me manage it, which he did, and that’s basically how we got started.” 

Deakin’s son helped him set-up an account with popular trading app eToro, mainly because it was “simple” to set-up an account and it was the only one that accepted his credit card.

eToro is a popular trading platform that helps people invest in the capital markets. It is based in Israel but has offices in other countries like the U.S., the U.K, and Australia.

Initially, Deakin’s son helped him choose stocks to invest in until he became a bit more confident to try doing it himself. A month later, Deakin said he had learned enough to “take the training wheels off” and opened his own account. It was also around the time he found out about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“By late August, I had doubled my modest investment in crypto, while my eToro had lost about a hundred dollars during around the same amount of time,” he said. After carefully assessing the investment climate, and taking into account “big bills piling up and income was going down,” Deakin said he decided to just cash out and withdraw his money from his e-Toro account. 

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“And that’s when the nightmare began,” he said.

Deakin said he tried withdrawing his money and even tried writing to eToro every day, but nothing happened. 

“They eventually wrote back and said they blocked my credit card because a father and a son cannot share an account,” he said. “I was like, huh? Didn’t seem like that was a problem when I opened it. But they smugly reminded me that it is stated in their terms and conditions, so now I’m being punished for that.”

When Deakin said he just wanted to get his money and close the account, eToro initially tried to talk him out of it but eventually asked him to choose a method like PayPal. But the withdrawal was denied without any explanation, except to say that it was under review.

Deakin was made to do other things like prove his identity multiple times, but days later, there was still no money. Until finally, he wrote: “After a couple of days of nothing, I woke up last Saturday to check my PayPal. Still nothing. So I checked my eToro portfolio, and to my absolute horror, there was nothing left in there either. It was totally wiped out. 0.00 balance. All my money gone and not a single word from eToro.”

“So I’m writing this to warn people, especially first time investors, because this is the exact thing newbies fear—waking up and finding out you’ve been cleaned out and not having anyone to talk to about it,” he added. “It’s the worst feeling ever. There’s so much going on when you begin your journey in investing and something like this is an absolute deal breaker. Criminal, even.”

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Esquire Philippines reached out to Deakin on Wednesday afternoon (September 15) and he said the total amount that was lost was $12,940.25 (about P644,000). He also said he finally heard back from eToro, who assured him that his withdrawal will be processed “today or tomorrow (due to time differences)."

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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