SC cautions public on growing investment scams via Telegram

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) cautioned the public on the sharp increase of investment scams promoted on messaging application Telegram.

It said that since January 2022, the SC has received a total of 47 complaints and enquiries on illegal investment schemes promoted through Telegram. 

“These fraudulent schemes offer non-existent investment opportunities, promising very attractive and risk-free returns within a short span of time,” it said in a statement yesterday. 

“They commonly offer unrealistic returns of as high as 1,000% within 24 hours or even within a few hours,” it added.

“As such, the SC would like to remind investors to always exercise caution when evaluating investment opportunities, especially those promising unrealistically high returns with little or no risk. Investors should also never deposit money into someone’s personal bank account if instructed,” the regulator said further.

According to the SC, the perpetrators use various names to carry out the investment scams. 

They may also impersonate or clone licensed capital market intermediaries by using the names, logos, credentials, websites and other details of the legitimate entities to promote the illegal schemes.

A public group on Telegram is usually created by these scammers to promote these investment packages that are usually accompanied by fake testimonies and sometimes advertised as being Shariah-compliant. 

Subsequently, interested investors will be asked to directly message the representatives to begin investing in the various investment packages offered.

Additionally, investors are often instructed to deposit monies into personal bank accounts of individuals who claim to represent a legitimate entity, and/or into an unrelated corporate account. 

To lend credence and to lure unsuspecting victims, perpetrators usually claim that their entity and/or the investment schemes are approved by financial authorities.

There were 51,631 online fraud cases with more than RM1.61 billion in losses reported from 2019 to last year, the Dewan Rakyat was told on Monday.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Jonathan Yasin said the highest was online purchases with 18,857 cases, followed by 15,546 non-existent loan cases.

“Various efforts were carried out by the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) to combat syndicates including stepping up law enforcement, operations and charging against those involved.

“We also created the ‘CCID Scam Response Center’ where members of the public could obtain information and validate calls for doubtful transactions,” he said in reply to a question by Su Keong Siong (PH-Kampar) at Dewan Rakyat.

Meanwhile, the SC urges the public to refer to the SC’s Investor Alert List before investing. 

Those who suspect that they have been approached by unauthorised firms or individuals offering schemes that promise unrealistic returns may lodge a report with the SC’s Consumers and Investors Department at 03-6204 8999 or email: [email protected]. –TMR