KUCHING: The Securities Commission (SC) continues its efforts to eradicate scams which has seen a significant rise, likely due to the Covid-19.
“Scams continue to be a source of concern for us at the SC. We have seen a significant jump in the number of complaints and enquiries received.
“As of September 2021, the SC has received over 2,000 queries and complaints about illegal investment schemes or scams. This is more than double the total number reported in 2020,” revealed SC chairman Datuk Syed Zaid Albar in his welcoming remarks at the Virtual InvestSmart Fest 2021 (Virtual ISF 2021) today.
These scams typically promise high returns within a short period of time, with little or no risk. They are frequently promoted through social media channels, with payments required into mule bank accounts operated by scammers.
“Please be especially cautious of such investments. When investing, never deposit your money into someone’s personal bank account,” he added.
“In response, we have taken swift action to combat these scams. As at September 30, 2021, we have made 202 new entries in the SC’s Investor Alert, compared to 134 entries for the entire year of 2020.
“This year alone, with the help of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Facebook Malaysia, we have managed to block 97 websites and 7 Facebook accounts.”
Aside from investment scams, Syed Zaid said that the commission has also seen an increase in the number of activities carried out without the necessary licence or registration with the SC.
This year, the SC took enforcement action against two foreign digital asset exchanges (DAX), reprimanding and blocking their websites for operating illegally in Malaysia.
“Investors should be aware that those who trade on unregistered DAXes are not protected under Malaysian securities laws and are exposed to fraud and money laundering risks,” he said.
As of September 30, 2021, the SC has included 38 operators on its Investor Alert List, comprising entities and related individuals for carrying on the business of investment advice without a licence.
It has directed 29 of these operators to cease and desist from providing unlicensed investment advice. These activities were typically carried out by self-proclaimed “investment gurus” who offered their services through subscription-based private chat groups on Telegram, WhatsApp and Facebook.
“If you encounter them, do not engage with these unlicensed individuals. They may be receiving advice from unqualified persons or are being used as part of a market manipulation scheme,” he explained.
“What you can do instead is equip yourselves with the right knowledge and investment information.”
Investor education will continue to be a key priority for the SC. Two weeks ago, the SC unveiled its third Capital Market Masterplan, having identified investor empowerment as one of the thrusts for the capital market.
“We will also continue to carry out initiatives in support of the F-E-N’s Malaysia National Strategy for Financial Literacy to elevate financial literacy among Malaysians and promote responsible financial behaviours.”