- For Atty. Marian Vanslembrouck, the best defense on how to avoid crypto scams is for investors to be equipped with knowledge of where to look to verify that companies are authorized to solicit investments from the public.
- According to Vanslembrouck, being a “smart investor” means knowing the basics, such as verifying whether the company is registered and licensed by the government.
- The lawyer also advised investors to be aware of their surroundings and vigilant about schemes from entities that aim to entice the public to invest.
“Although we have the regulators, the best defense that we have is ourselves and our knowledge of where to look and check that these companies are actually legitimate companies authorized to solicit investments from the public.”Atty. Marian Vanslembrouck
Thus emphasized by Atty. Marian Vanslembrouck, who was recognized as one of the top in-house legal counsel in the country by The Legal 500 through the GC Powerlist: Philippines 2023 and served as an associate general counsel for NFT in-game assets platform Enjin, on the personal responsibilities of investors to avoid crypto scam projects.
What should investors do to prevent engaging in fraudulent projects?
How to Avoid Crypto Scams: Check the Project’s Legitimacy on Regulators’ Websites
According to Vanslembrouck, being a “smart investor” means knowing the basics, like checking if the company is registered and licensed by the government.
“First, you check the SEC website, and they usually actually put advisories on companies (that) were operating without either a certificate of incorporation from the SEC or were not allowed to offer security.”Atty. Marian Vanslembrouck
Vanslembrouck is referring to the advisory section of the Securities and Exchange Commission website. This section flags entities that offer unregistered securities, engage in Ponzi schemes, or are not registered with the Commission.
“I-check mo if nandoon siya sa list ng advisories sa SEC kasi they usually post a list of those who are not authorized to solicit investments from the public. So kapag ginawa mo iyon tas wala sa list, so clear siya.”Atty. Marian Vanslembrouck
Moreover, aside from checking for an SEC public advisory against the entity, the former Enjin counsel also advised investors to verify if the entity is a registered corporation and has the licenses to solicit investments. “If ever, mayroon doon, that’s a good sign.”
Consequently, the SEC is not the only agency concerned with financial projects in the country; the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is also involved. For Vanslembrouck, the legitimacy of an entity can be further verified as the BSP also has a list of companies that offer financial services:
“You can also check if it’s a registered bank, exchange, or company engaged in digital assets with the BSP, kasi pwede ring there’s an online list somewhere that you can look and then check if the company is there.”Atty. Marian Vanslembrouck
How to Avoid Crypto Scams: Be Mindful
Also, Atty. Vanslembrouck advised investors to stay alert and be cautious of the tactics used by organizations to lure the public into investing.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. I think common sense will tell us (that) normal interest earnings for several products here in the Philippines (are between) four to seven percent,” she explained, adding that a 7% interest offer is actually big.
Further, another red flag that the lawyer gave as an example is a scenario where representatives of an entity hype their investment schemes by promising things like big interest offers, limited time only, and high referral rates.
“If you have someone offering you even 20% return, 50% return, and even 1000% return of the money you put in, kabahan ka na kasi those are wild returns that are very suspicious. Or if someone tries to pressure you by saying, ‘this deal will end tomorrow, or it’s actually just available for a select few investors or select few friends because I have inside their information,’ you also should be careful.”Atty. Marian Vanslembrouck
SEC’s Recent Efforts Against Fraudulent Projects
Earlier this month, the SEC confirmed that it had secured the convictions of six individuals linked to an investment fraud orchestrated by GDM Finance SARL, the 22nd conviction for violations of the country’s securities regulations.
For the past month, the Commission has already flagged down LEBRONIFY/AUTHORITY CIRCLE, an unauthorized entity that disguises itself as a freelancing consultancy but actually promotes various investment options with hefty returns; Secret For Elimination Of Rampan Poverty Worldwide Corporation (SERP Worldwide) and Sprhy Gold Investment, for being illegitimate companies offering unregistered investment products; and B&B Trading Center OPC, which, although registered, is not authorized to solicit investments or offer fraudulent investment schemes in violation of the Securities Regulation Code, according to the SEC.
This article is published on BitPinas: Personal Responsibilities: How to Avoid Crypto Scams
- Before investing in any cryptocurrency, it is essential that you carry out your own due diligence and seek appropriate professional advice about your specific position before making any financial decisions.
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