KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has continued its efforts to raise awareness among investors, including educating them on scams involving investment schemes.

SC managing director Foo Lee Mei said that over the past year, the commission has implemented several initiatives to counter scam activities, including blocking websites and Facebook accounts.

According to its latest annual report, the SC blocked 143 websites found to be carrying out unlicensed activities, scams, and misusing the SC’s name and logo in 2021. It also received assistance from Facebook Malaysia to geo-block 35 Facebook accounts.

“The second approach is the targeted investigations which we are conducting currently through an internal taskforce on scams. We have detected 45 mail accounts and 22 have been referred for anti-money laundering investigations,” Foo said at the SC Annual Report 2021 virtual media briefing today.

Another aspect is the commission’s investors’ education awareness programme done via social media and press releases.

She said that the SC is seeing a rising number of enquiries directed at its complaints department, According to its annual report, the number of enquiries rose to 3,464 last year against 2,193 in 2020.

These are signs that more investors are trying to find out more about the investment schemes they are entering into, she said.

“We hope that there will be more investor scepticism, so that when they see an investment being advertised over social media, they do not jump into it but would do some due diligence first,” she said.

Meanwhile, SC chairman Datuk Syed Zaid Albar said a multi-pronged anti-scam approach has been established as there is no denying that cases have increased over the last few years.

“Complaints involving unlicensed schemes, for example, have increased from 37 per cent of complaints received by the SC in 2020 to 52 per cent in 2021,” he said.

The SC received 1,857 complaints last year compared with 1,482 in 2020.

In a statement, the SC said that a cross-divisional taskforce to investigate clone-firm scams has been set up to combat unlicensed activities with greater agility.

To date, the commission has undertaken five enforcement actions and 473 regulatory interventions as well as putting up 275 unlicensed companies and individuals on the SC’s Investor Alert List, it said.

“In 2021, the enforcement strategy was focused on achieving swift, effective and targeted outcomes, with the SC deploying a wide range of enforcement tools.

“Through civil enforcement actions, the SC pursued restitution for investors with RM2.7 million restituted to 721 aggrieved investors, while a total of 136 administrative sanctions were taken on misconducts and less serious breaches of securities laws and guidelines,” it added. — Bernama