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SEC flags 22 investment schemes

Raffy Ayeng

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public not to be lured by a huge return of investments offered by fraudulent investment schemes found in social media platforms, particularly Facebook.

In an advisory released 24 November, the SEC identified 22 groups and individuals that were found to be deceitful with unregistered investment entities that are enticing the public to invest their money in high-earning products.

The 22 “hoax” companies were identified by the SEC as, Mga Business Enterprises, CoopHub Multimedia Services, Jogle Innovative Marketing, Global Dream Zion, Grappler, Sherpan, BCT Marketing/BCT Motorcycle and Car Trading, RTM/RTM Pharmacy and General Merchandise, Diamond Marketing, Fusion Marketing, FMarket, Cirfund, Vibearn, OnePro, BCC/BCC Cosmetics Trading, Unlishop Compensation Plan Marketing, VUCC, Bitrain, TCoin, Crowd Royals, ADA Farm Agri Venture, and Nermie Marketing/Nermie Health and Beauty Products Trading.

Aside from Facebook, the SEC said these fraudulent investment schemes use other social media platforms such as Youtube, Twitter, LinkedIn for information about investing.

The SEC said these investment scheme handles offer their investment contracts in the corresponding Facebook pages or secret Facebook groups and chatrooms, Youtube, and others.

These fraudulent investment groups offer an unrealistic return of investments ranging from 10% to 400% per month.  They also require their interested investors to pay their initial investments by depositing their money to a specific bank account, Coins.Ph account, GCash, through a money remittance company and even through face-to-payment with one of the entity’s agents.  The investor would then send through a private message a copy of the proof of the deposit to the offeror who shall send his confirmation after validation, according to the SEC.

Furthermore, these investment schemes usually deliver payouts through the above-mentioned methods and usually claim that they invest their funds in forex, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to justify their earning capacity.

“The public is hereby informed that such investment schemes, whether with the use of money or cryptocurrencies, are considered as securities subject to the regulatory authority of this Commission. The recruitment of investor members under the guise of sponsoring a person into the system is likewise considered a form of investment solicitation or a sale of securities. The offering or sale of securities to the public without a permit or license from the Commission is a violation of Section 8.1 of the Securities Regulation Code,” the SEC Advisory read.

NBI probes sham online franchise

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation said it is investigating an alleged sham online investment scheme for offering “online franchisees” and an income of P40,000 to P80,000 a month.

“We have received reports from individuals regarding different online businesses offering online franchises and one of which is Lokal Plate,” Senora said. “We have already conducted our initial inquiry. Likewise, coordinated the same with the company (Lokal Plate) and with related government agencies. We are still waiting for their replies,” said NBI Agent Francis Senora of the Cybercrime Division.

The Daily Tribune tried to contact the SEC-Enforcement and Investor Protection Department but it has yet to return the call.

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