KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) received about 2,873 scam-related complaints for the third quarter of 2023 compared to 2,461 complaints received last year.
SC chairman Datuk Seri Awang Adek Hussin said the significant increase in complaints was due to enforcement made by warning the public to report suspicious behaviour about scams.
“Many scammers are making use of social media platforms such as YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram to reach out. The SC is collaborating with other relevant stakeholders such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to disrupt scam activities.
“This includes alerting the public via our Investor Alert List, blocking websites, and geo-blocking offending social media pages,” he said to reporters after the launching of InvestSmart Fest 2023 here today.
In his speech, Awang Adek stated that as of the end of October 2023, the SC has commenced four enforcement actions against unlicensed activities, including 274 new entries on the Alert List as well as blocked 128 websites, 113 Telegram accounts, 78 Facebook accounts and 10 Instagram accounts.
He also urges search engines and social media platforms to step up their efforts to help stop scammers from spreading harmful messages.
Awang Adek stated that the SC has streamlined the process and brought it all together in an online search platform called the SC Investment Checker.
“We expect it to go live by the end of this year. This new one-stop search function on the official SC website will help investors identify the legitimacy of an entity offering an investment opportunity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Finance Minister II Steven Sim Chee Keong said the authorities must enhance the security of systems both on the service provider side and consumer side, whilst the banks have by and large taken major steps to implement better security features over the past year.
He said the authorities must ensure fast action to respond to cases of scams and the recovery of money to the victims.
In this regard, the National Scam Respond Centre (NSRC) has been empowered with an allocation of RM10 million this year and RM20 million in Budget 2024 to ensure timely response to scam reports.
To date, NSRC has managed to intervene and freeze up to RM60 million, thus preventing losses to the victims, Sim said.
By mid-next year, the National Fraud Portal, a smart system by Bank Negara Malaysia in collaboration with PayNet to trace fund movements and identify mules, will be completed.
“I firmly believe service providers have to bear some liability when it comes to scam incidents and not push responsibility solely to the consumers or investors.
“Yes, there is the problem of moral hazard but this argument works on either side. If financial service providers can just push liability to consumers, then won’t it create a situation of moral hazard on their end? I believe risk must be distributed proportionately between the parties involved and not just loaded against one party,” he said in his speech at the event.
The three-day InvestSmart Fest 2023, themed “10 Tahun Memperkasa Rakyat Malaysia’, focuses on four key componentes; investor empowerment, fintech, financial planning and investment scams prevention.
This year’s event is participated by more than 35 organisations, including financial market institutions, capital market intermediaries, industry associations, regulatory bodies and government agencies. — Bernama