February 24, 2024

Artemio Dumlao – The Philippine StarJanuary 11, 2024 | 12:00am

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has flagged eight more entities for operating like Ponzi schemes, warning the public against dealing with them and giving in to their solicitations for investments. These entities lack necessary licenses and are not authorized to solicit investments, according to SEC-Baguio City.

The following entities have been identified as unauthorized to solicit investments: House of Forex / H. Flores Business Consultancy Services, Foto Trading International, HarvestCTMall, Crypace Limited/Crypace Financial Consultancy Services, DNKC Corp., Gainz Philippines, S&M ventures, and Salon de Alexis.

As early as November last year, the SEC issued a warning about the investment offerings of House of Forex/H. Flores Business Consultancy Services, which reportedly offers seven ways to earn with high interest rates. According to the SEC, this type of investment contract, which is considered a security, is present when there is an investment or placement of money in a common enterprise with a reasonable expectation of profits primarily from the efforts of others. This is a prominent aspect of the scheme offered by House of Forex/H. Flores Business Consultancy Services.

Under the Securities Regulatory Code (SRC), securities must be registered with the SEC before they can be offered and sold to the public. The concerned entity must also have a secondary license to operate as a broker or dealer. Failure to comply with these requirements is a violation of the SRC and may result in penalties and sanctions.

The SEC-Baguio City has also advised the public to be cautious of entities offering high returns with little to no risk, as these are often fraudulent schemes. They also urged the public to verify the legitimacy of investment opportunities and to refrain from giving in to pressure or persuasion from individuals or groups offering such opportunities.

In recent news, several individuals and companies have been arrested and charged for their involvement in investment scams. In Mumbai, builder Vijay Machinder was placed in ED custody after a remand for his alleged involvement in a real estate investment scam. In Bengaluru, a realtor suffered a loss of Rs 1.30 crore due to a fraudulent investment scheme. In Rhode Island, a connection was found between a case involving a $1.5 million house dispute and a scam operation in Connecticut. In the United States, a man was sentenced to prison for his involvement in a job scam that led to tax-related fraud. In another case, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office announced a second arrest in a food truck scam operation. To combat online fraud, Matrimony.com launched a “Safe Matrimony” initiative to protect individuals from falling victim to scams. In addition, a proposed bill aims to relieve scam victims from an unfair tax burden.

It is crucial for individuals to be vigilant and cautious when it comes to investing their hard-earned money. Always do thorough research and verify the legitimacy of investment opportunities before making any decisions. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Stay informed and protect yourself from falling victim to investment scams.

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