BSP warns public to beware of fraudulent investment schemes

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) warns the public against individuals or groups presenting fake documents which they claim to be under the custody of the BSP and/or other government agencies.  In particular, such documents may contain fictitious Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT)1 messages where relevant information such as counterparty names, addresses and the amount involved are tampered with. Such document may be used by fraudsters and scammers to lure the public to invest with the promise of huge returns or “double-your- money” schemes.

The public is advised that:

• The BSP does not hold or safekeep documents and other financial instruments for individuals, corporations, foundations, or non-profit organizations;
• The BSP does not transact with individuals and entities at random; and
• SWIFT messages between banks and counterparties do not pass through the BSP.

Spot the signs

Below are some of the signs that a SWIFT message has been fabricated:

• The amount involved is extremely large.
• Sender/recipient details (such as name, codes and address) do not match.
• Message formats do not conform with SWIFT standards.

In addition, the public is advised to avoid being victims of scams where:

• The investment offers quick returns that are “too good to be true”;
• The investment company provides limited contact details, does not have a legitimate business email and uses free mail services, and no legitimate office address;
• You came to know of the unsolicited investment offer by telephone, email, flyers, newspaper advertisements, or directly from a person or company that you have not heard of before; or
• The investment offers issuance of promissory notes or post-dated checks to ensure payment of earnings.

Do your due diligence

It is important to conduct the necessary due diligence prior to committing to an investment opportunity. Try to gather and verify as much information regarding the company offering the investment. Relevant information includes business address, contact numbers (preferably landline and not mobile numbers), company officers and contact persons, among others. Furthermore, check if the company is authorized to sell investment instruments, such as securities, bonds, commercial papers, or similar financial instruments. Lastly, research on the investment scheme being offered through the internet.  There is a vast source of information online regarding different forms of fraud and scams.

Do your share, report!

Immediately report cases of false claims, suspicious or potentially criminal activities to the:

Philippine National Police
PNP National Headquarters, Camp General Crame, EDSA,
Quezon City, Philippines 1110
(+632) 8723-0401 local 3696

National Bureau of Investigation
NBI Building, Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila, Philippines 1000
(+632)8523-8231 to 38

Securities and Exchange Commission
Secretariat Building, PICC Complex, Roxas Boulevard,
Pasay City, Philippines 1307
(+632) 818-2016 and 818-5476

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
A. Mabini Street, Malate, Manila, Philippines 1004
(+632) 8708-7087
(+632) 8708-7701 local 2584

1 SWIFT is a messaging network that financial institutions use to securely transmit information and instructions, such as money transfer instructions, through a standardized system of codes.

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