Financial scams are very common across the world and also in Malaysia. In a recent report by The Malaysian Securities Commission (SC), there has been a disturbing rise of such complaints especially in 2020.
More cases due to pandemic
The SC released its 2020 Annual Report, the year COVID-19 hit the world. More people had to stay home and due to the uncertainties, more people are looking for ways to grow their money apart from the conventional money markets. But the scammers are also looking to prey on those victims. As such, it is no surprise that there has been a 70% increase in complaints and inquiries that are scam-related in 2020. It also reported that more than 70 websites have since been reported and blocked for providing activities that are unregulated. Some have used the SC’s name and logo on their sites as well.
Preying on innocent victims
Most victims are not aware that they are being scammed. In 2021, one of the biggest scams involves cryptocurrency investments. The SC stated that of the complaints made, more than 35% of them involved illegal investment scams and that is a scary fact. Scammers have changed the way they operate ever since. This includes using the logo and name of legitimate firms which can confuse the customer.
Initiative to curb scammers
The SC has called on Malaysians to be cautious when it comes to investing their money especially when they receive phone calls or emails. They should:
- Check and double-check before investing and when it comes to digital currencies
- Use legitimate and authorized exchanges like Luno, Tokenize and SYNERGY which are approved DAX (digital asset exchange) in Malaysia.
- InvestSmart is an investor empowerment platform that seeks to educate the public about investment literacy and anti-scam information. Due to the pandemic, it has become harder to hold physical events but they have since moved to digital and social platforms.
Investor Alert List is updated frequently where consumers can refer to any unlicensed or unauthorized firms. More than 130 new names have since been added to this list in 2020 alone and will continue to be added in the future for reference