Securities and Exchange Commission (Philippines) - Wikipedia

Despite the Covid-19 outbreak damaging multiple countries back to back, scammers never sleep. In fact, they get even dauntingly busier at this time of crisis, finding potential investors and consumers alike to victimize and take advantage of the opportunity offered by the coronavirus.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, there are at least 14 detected groups engaged in such activities, unauthorized investment-taking at most, ever since the issuance of a national public health emergency amidst the coronavirus spread.

“We encourage the public to carefully study and examine offers and invitations to participate in schemes promising easy money, especially in these difficult times,” SEC chair Emilio Aquino said.

As per SEC’s recent public warnings, they nudged the public not to invest in MAGINVESTKA.ONLINE (MIK.O), a platform that supposedly trades bitcoin against the US dollar, promising a guaranteed 2% return daily or 200% in total for a period of 100 days.

Another is the Azenzo-Online that operates as an independent crowdfunding platform that propagates a “Deposit-Donation, Withdrawal-Blessing” scheme akin to Kapa-Community Ministry International, a Ponzi-type scam, promising a 30 % return within 5 – 15 days and a 100% “donation return” after 20 days.

Both of these hadn’t registered as a corporation or partnership, as per SEC, as well as not securing prior registration or license to solicit investments from the public, as required under Sections 8 and 12 of Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code.

The SEC also flogged the activities of any persons or groups using such names or representing themselves as such.

The SEC had also warned the public against a text scam using the name of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in which one would receive a text message stating that he/she won PHP750,000 from the President: Rodrigo Duterte Charity Foundation through an electronic raffle. Such a foundation is never registered as a corporation with the SEC.

“On our part, the Commission will continue monitoring investment-solicitation activities online and on the ground to stop unscrupulous groups from putting any other burden on Filipinos, especially the vulnerable, amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Aquino added.