Public warned about high-yield investment scams

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is urging the investing public not to put their hard earned money in easy, high-yielding investment scams with low investment costs and fake celebrity endorsers amid the surge of mostly Ponzi-schemes since the start of the pandemic.

Schemes with low investment costs, fake celebrity endorsers and promises of unusually high returns are likely to be scams, SEC chairman Emilio Aquino said.

The SEC said the investing public can invest in legitimate investment options such as stocks, bonds, government securities, and mutual funds so as not to fall prey to unauthorized and fraudulent schemes.

Aquino said investors could realize the benefits of investing through these channels instead of putting their hard-earned money in investment scams or companies that are not registered to sell securities to the public.

“Being an investor champion means being able to realize the benefits of investing, to spot and avoid fraudulent investment schemes, and to champion others by passing on your knowledge about legitimate investment options and the modus operandi of scammers to keep them from falling into the trap,” he said.

The SEC will highlight the variety of legitimate and accessible investment options during the upcoming 2021 Investor Protection Week, to be held from Nov. 8 to 12, and will continue educating Filipinos on how to spot and avoid investment scams.

“In this year’s Investor Protection Week, we invite Filipinos to join our advocacy for a secure future through smart and sustainable investments, and become investor champions themselves,” Aquino said.

According to the 2020 Stock Market Investor Profile released by the Philippine Stock Exchange, there were only around 1.4 million accounts in the stock market last year, accounting for only percent of the Philippines’ adult population. This points to a widely untapped potential for the equities market.

The 2019 Financial Inclusion Survey by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also revealed lack of awareness, alongside work instability and perception of high cost, among the top reasons why Filipino adults did not have investments.

Aquino said fraudsters have taken advantage of Filipinos’ eagerness to invest and earn more by luring them into schemes that require only small amounts of investments in exchange for returns that are too good to be true.

“It is therefore crucial that the investing public is guided toward the legitimate investment options and away from investment scams.”

The Investor Protection Week takes off from the World Investor Week, a global campaign promoted by the International Organization of Securities Commissions. It also coincides with the anniversary of the SEC.

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