Four new investment scammers preying on yield-seekers during this state of public health emergency have been uncovered by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

In advisories issued on May 7, the SEC warned the public against dealing with individuals or groups representing and promoting the following: Bayanihan Program of Billy Ford Andrada, My Gold Rev/ My Gold Rev Philippines, Friend$hip/ Friend$hip Philippines and World of Captcha (WOC).

All four entities are not registered with the SEC. Also, none of them holds a license to sell investment contracts to the public, as required under Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code.

Under its Bayanihan Program, Billy Ford Andrada solicits a minimum investment of P2,000 and promises a 50 percent return plus a 5 percent direct referral bonus. To entice more investors, Billy Ford Andrada runs promotions for a 15-percent direct commission and a P300 bonus for every investment of P2,000 amid the quarantine measures implemented to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SEC said a certain Billy Ford delos Santos Andrada as the owner of Billford Trading and Bill Ford VIP Trading, whose investment-solicitation activities in the guise of a piggery business had been the subject of an earlier advisory.

My Gold Rev, meanwhile, offers business plans for $20 to $100,000. Investors may supposedly earn daily profit of 2 to 3.5 percent for 80 to 100 days, or a 260- to 450-percent return on investment.

Friend$hip collects subscription fee of $7.99 or P385. Members receive $1 for every referral in the first to fifth levels of their network.

Friend$hip has launched its second investment option: A subscription plan with landing page at $11 or P935. Under this, investors may earn $1 per successful referral and another $1 per purchased landing page up to the fifth level.

It claims to be an American firm with a business address in New Jersey. It is led by one Rodnelio “Ron” Chang Capua as president and CEO, based on various Facebook posts.

WOC also solicits investments from the public in the guise of an online business. It offers plans worth P200 to P1,000 where members could supposedly earn P300 to P1,500 by typing Captcha.

WOC promises bonuses of P20 to P100 for direct referrals and P5 to P25 for indirect referrals up to the fifth level. It also offers a program where one can purchase 75 codes and get 10 free codes for P15,000 for resale.

Both plans expire after eight days, pushing members to purchase new plans and/or upgrade to continue earning under the scheme headed by a certain Charles Serrano.

The SEC warned that those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of fraudulent investment schemes may be held criminally liable. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA INQ

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