The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) warned the public today about a sharp increase in clone firm scams this year. The commission detailed that some fraudulent companies are impersonating legal entities including public listed companies (PLCs) by misusing their name and official logo to trick investors.
The SC further mentioned that these clone firms offer unrealistically high returns to the investors in a short span of time by selling non-existent shares of the PLCs. The fraudsters also use clone corporate emails and other credentials while promoting investment schemes through social media channels.
According to the official press release, the regulator pointed out that these clone firms are targeting PLCs related to property and medical sectors. The targeted parties have launched complaints to the police as well as the SC.
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“The victims are often instructed to provide personal information such as their names, NRIC numbers, and bank details, after which they will be directed to transfer funds to the personal bank accounts of the scammers. Following this, the fraudsters will induce the victims to part with more money on the pretext of income tax payments, administrative fees, bank charges, withdrawal fees or exchange rates,” the SC mentioned in the press release.
The regulator urged people to stay cautious against the increase in fraud and asked people to verify the bank account details at the ‘Semak Mule’ online application and website to make sure the bank account has not been involved in fraudulent activities before. “The SC would like to remind the investors to always exercise caution when evaluating investment opportunities, especially those promising very high returns with little or no risk and to seek the counsel of licensed and legitimate advisors. Investors are urged to verify the status of individuals or companies offering investing opportunities via the SC website,” the regulator added.
Malaysia’s financial regulator also added three companies to the warning list today and flagged them as unauthorized firms.