KUALA LUMPUR – Clone firms have stolen more than RM24.7 million through scam schemes, according to reports from the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC).
In a recent statement, the SC stated that they had investigated 10 clone firm scams which are believed to have disbursed the amount to various of their “masterminds” based on 154 bank statements that the commission had reviewed.
The SC explained that these clone firm scams would typically target victims and investors who are willing to part with a modest amount of money in exchange for huge returns over a short period of time.
Clone firm scams are typically fake companies that would falsely impersonate a real or licensed entity through means that include misusing the name and logo of a public listed company, provide corporate credentials and websites in order to trick investors and solicit funds.
The statement added that since the majority of the victims had lost a small amount of funds, many of them were unwilling to assist the SC’s investigations.
These clone firm scams would operate through advertising on social media in order to lure investors. They would offer investment packages with guarantees of high returns which are seemingly offered through “licensed intermediaries.”
There would also be a huge amount of “agents” that would lure investors and solicit investments via WhatsApp chats after the victims have clicked into the links that were provided.
Deposits would be requested for these “investment schemes” and victims would have to pay bank accounts held by mules that layer and launder these illegally received funds.
The SC revealed that there were no less than 32 mule account holders enabling scam operators that were identified during investigations.
The statement added that the operators generated a huge amount of illegal proceeds due to the large victim pool with one of the accounts allegedly laundering RM3.6 million within six months.
Due to the lack of cooperation from victims, the SC is reviewing evidence that is available and weighing options for different enforcement methods.
According to the statement, 15 out of 24 victims had refused to cooperate with the SC on the matter.
The SC further cautions investors to exercise vigilance and scepticism when it comes to analysing investment opportunities. The legitimacy of individuals or entities involved should be checked before funds are transferred.
The SC further advises to not deposit funds into any personal bank accounts for investment when requested to do so. Furthermore, the SC has an Investor Alert List on their website that details unauthorised websites, investment schemes, companies and individuals – all which should be checked before making investment decisions.
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