PETALING JAYA: The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has seen a rapid increase in complaints and enquiries on unlicensed activities and scams since the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Its consumer and investor general manager, Jawahar Ali Ameer Ali, said that the SC had received 1,799 complaints in 2020; 3,475 complaints in 2021; 2461 complaints in 2022, and up to the first half this year (1H 2023), it had already received about 1,670 complaints which are about 60 per cent of what it received in 2022.

Speaking to the media at the Annual Signature Financial Planning Symposium organised by the Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM) today, he said that most of the complaints the SC received were on the illegal schemes promoted through social media.

Jawahar Ali said that perpetrators of these scams usually use sponsored Facebook ads, fake websites and create public Telegram groups to promote these investment packages that are usually accompanied by fake testimonies, certificates purportedly issued by various agencies,

“Interested investors will then be asked to message the representative to begin investing directly. These ‘investments’ usually promise unrealistic returns, such as investing RM300 will have returns in thousands of ringgit within a few hours.

“Investment opportunities like this through social media are scams. Investors should also be careful if they are asked to deposit money into personal (bank) accounts. As of now, investors have lost tens of millions through investment scams,” he added.

Jawahar Ali said that the SC had taken various intervention actions and initiatives to alert the public.

“Among them, in 1H 2023, the SC took two enforcement actions, issued 170 alert lists, 95 website blocks, six Instagram account blocks, 74 Telegram account blocks, as well as 58 blocks on Facebook,” he said.

Meanwhile, FPAM president Alvin Tan Chin Cherng said the one-day financial planning symposium, themed “Financial Planning Evolution”, would serve as a pivotal platform for professionals to navigate the complexities of today’s financial world.

He shared that attendees were treated to a comprehensive range of topics in the financial landscape, covering scams and client protection, digitalisation and risk management, digital assets, sustainability, and the emerging new world order.

“Financial planners played an important role acting as an alarm clock to most of their customers in helping them manage their finances and increasing their financial literacy level.

“To encourage customers to engage the help of financial planners, FPAM is proposing to the Government for Budget 2024 to include tax relief of RM1,000 for financial planning fee,” he added. -Bernama

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