The self-described trader claims to gain huge returns through cryptocurrency investment. Image by EPA PHOTO

‘Trader’ deals in deception and dishonesty

Meghan Williams February 21, 2024

A cryptocurrency trader has posted images of his happy clients and their bank transfer notifications.


False. The transfer notifications and client photos are fake.

A self-declared cryptocurrency trader has posted photos of his happy clients, their stunning returns and images of bank transfers as proof.

But the images have nothing to do with crypto trading and the bank transfers are fake.

They have been posted by claimed crypto trader Michael Collins (archived here).

Collins is one of more than 100 alleged financial traders using deception and false images to target Facebook users in the Pacific Islands.

AAP FactCheck has analysed dozens of these accounts as part of a special investigation.

A screenshot of the Michael Collins Facebook page.
 Michael Collins is one of scores of deceitful pages preying on investors. 

Collins’ profile cover image features a man in a blue suit with the New York skyline in the background.

However, the man pictured is not Collins or anyone involved in cryptocurrency.

Instead, it is New York real estate agent John A. Herbst.

The image has been lifted from Mr Herbst’s social media and there is no suggestion he has any connection with the Collins page.

Collins claims to be a cryptocurrency trader and lists his employment as a senior account manager at Binary Finary.

Binary Finary has nothing to do with trading – it’s the name of a trance music duo.

“We have never heard of Michael Collins,” a Binary Finary representative told AAP FactCheck in an email.

“People often confuse us (We are a DJ Duo) with Forex / Crypto Currency content. We work in the music scene.”

A screenshot of a post on Binary Finary's Facebook page.
 Binary Finary are trance music DJs, not a cryptocurrency trading firm. 

Collins also claims to have studied in Bangladesh, says he works at a Bangladeshi blog and lives in Austin, Texas.

He targets people in Papua New Guinea with a promise of huge returns on investment.

His page is filled with video and text testimonies from supposed clients, images of bank transfers and piles of cash.

However, reverse image searches reveal not everything is as he makes out.

This November 2023 post of someone holding a cheque for $2800 is actually a photograph of a Vodafone Fiji event in 2022.

This post, also from November 2023, claims to show a PNG couple who earned more than 25,000 Kina ($10,300) with the help of Collins.

“I can say this is an amazing income in just couple (sic) of months,” the post reads.

However, the photo appears to be from an unrelated event in 2018.

A screenshot of one of the Facebook posts.
 This alleged client image appears on pages of other claimed traders. 

This image, featuring a supposed client of Collins holding a wad of cash, appears on another page of an alleged investment manager.

Other photos apparently showing the cash earnings from Collins’ investment scheme (here and here) also appear elsewhere online (see here and here).

In another post, a supposed client in the PNG capital Port Moresby claims to have been able to purchase a home. But the house in the photograph is from a Domain real estate listing in Queensland.

Collins has also posted several images of bank transfer receipts and text message alerts to prove he has made vast profits for his clients.

The name of his supposed company is inconsistent across many posts, examples here, here, here, here, here and here.

A screenshot of one of the Facebook posts.
 The bank transfer images use different account names. 

Many of the apparent screenshots of bank transfer notifications use the logo for the Bank South Pacific (BSP), such as here and here.

In an email to AAP FactCheck, a BSP representative said the bank alert messages did not appear legitimate.

Dan Halpin from Cybertrace, a Sydney-based cyber fraud investigations company, said based on Collins’ WhatsApp number, he was not based in the US.

The WhatsApp link in some posts from accounts encouraging people to contact Collins takes users to a +234 number, the code for Nigeria, more than 11,000km from Collins’ alleged home in Texas.

The Verdict

The claim a cryptocurrency trader has posted images of his happy clients and their bank transfer notifications is false.

The bank notifications are fake or doctored and many of the images of clients are of people with no connection to crypto trading.

The account also uses the image of a New York real estate agent for the cover image.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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