SEC warns of online scams

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public against the so-called “Online Paluwagan” or “Onpal” that use social media accounts, pages, or groups:.

In an advisory, the SEC said Onpal is nothing but a form of Ponzi scheme, a fraudulent investing scam promising high rates of return with little risk to investors. The scheme generates returns for older investors by acquiring new investors: Juan’s investment is paid to Pedro as return.

SEC identified several social media accounts, pages, or groups that engage in Onpal:

  1. ROAD TO STOCKMARKET/DREAM BUILDERS – RTSM 2;
  2. STEADY MONEY ONPAL;
  3. G-FUNDS;
  4. TEAM AMAZING GRACE;
  5. DONATOS TEAM – GIG;
  6. TEAM DONATOS;
  7. BUILDING BRIDGE;
  8. GBS NEW HOPE;
  9. GBS TRUST TRADERS;
  10. WHILMZ TEAM INTERNATIONAL;
  11. WHILMZ INTERNATIONAL ONLINE PALUWAGAN;
  12. ROSCA – MONEY’S WORTH ONPAL;
  13. WARRIORS TEAM ONPAL;
  14. TEAM WARRIORS;
  15. XPLOSION;
  16. RED PACKET;
  17. ELITE SAVERS CLUB;
  18. SHARE KO PROFIT KO;
  19. SUTM & BOJ;
  20. REAL TEAM ANGEL INTERNATIONAL;
  21. ORIGINAL TEAM ANGELS;
  22. RETURN OF THE COMEBACK TEAM ANGELS INTERNATIONALS;
  23. CONE WEEKLY INVESTMENT;
  24. 2DO MARKETING SERVICES;
  25. POWER7 M2G;
  26. ONPAL ADHOC;
  27. SWIFT EARNERS GUILD;
  28. EXCLUSIVE CIRCLE OF EARNERS;
  29. OLD TBC; and
  30. LOVER’S PROFIT SHARING.

According to the information sent to SEC, the scheme involves a scheduled collection of money from each member by one or few administrators with an expectation to distribute the funds with interests to all members on their respective payout schedules. The persons recruiting or soliciting investments were promising huge returns to their members within a short period of time with interests ranging from 10% – 757% in as little as One to Ninety (1 – 90) days.

Transactions between the administrators and members were made through remittances, wire transfer, and cash deposits, among others. The social media was also extensively used to promote and operate the scheme.

Unfortunately, many of their respective members incurred huge loss of money and the administrators were reportedly unable to refund investments.

In view thereof, the public is hereby advised to stop investing in these kinds of activities and to take the necessary precaution in dealing with these groups or their representatives. Assurance should be made first that the company is lawfully engaged in business for which it is registered with the Commission as required under Sections 8 and 12 of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).

Consequently, those who act as salesman, brokers, dealers or agents in selling or convincing people to invest in the said scheme including solicitations or recruitment through the internet may likewise be prosecuted and held criminally liable under Section 28 of the Securities Regulation Code and penalized with a maximum fine of P5 million or penalty of 21 years imprisonment or both pursuant to Section 73 of the SRC.

Furthermore, the names of all those involved will be reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) so that the appropriate penalties and/or taxes be correspondingly assessed.

Accordingly, those who invite or recruit other people to join or invest in this venture or offer contracts or securities to the public may be held liable or accordingly sanctioned or penalized in accordance with the Supreme Court decision in the case of SEC vs. Oudine Santos (G.R. No. 195542, March 19, 2014).

Should you have any information regarding the operation of the said scheme, please call the Enforcement and Investor Protection Department at telephone numbers 818-6047.

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