17th August 2017 - 5 min read
What do you know about money games? Names like JJPTR, MBI, and others have been hot on the news lately for scamming investors out of millions of Ringgit. Masquerading as investment platforms, these money game companies promise to invest your cash for sizable returns, only to turn around and run away with the money.
How do you not fall victim to this and stay ahead of the game? First, you need to know what money game companies are.
To put it crudely, money games are pyramid schemes dressed up as investment platforms. They sound like, look like, and on the surface, perform like legitimate investment companies but are actually just tricking people out of their money. They do this by selling their services and then simply leaving the customers empty handed.
There is good reason why people fall into the seductive trap of money game companies. They offer what looks like real investment returns, and in the current economically wobbly climate, many of us may fall prey to their scheme. So here’s how to know when a company is a legitimate investment platform, and when they’re not.
Their advertised rate of return are reasonably higher than fixed deposits or maybe even some unit trusts, but not that high. Their language when describing investment returns would include disclaimers that the market is volatile and there’s a non-zero chance that returns may be less than expected.
Their advertised return rates are way higher than any unit trust of fixed deposit you’re aware of. They might even guarantee you a certain amount after a certain period of time, claiming they have a system that beats all the other investors’. Remember, “con man” is short for “confidence man”. If you’re realistic about the market, you won’t be too confident, man.
They treat potential investors like you as a possible client and treat you as such. Providing information, reassurance, and guidance whenever you feel lost about what their business is about.
They also offer to recruit you as an agent while offering high commission rates. You may recognise this strategy as one used by multi-level marketing schemes.
There are clearly defined products and services, with readily available fact sheets for your perusal. Use can use that information to double and triple check whether or not their investments are legitimate. They would also not afraid to be transparent about their dealings.
Their product details are vague and they deflect your request for clear information on their investments. They might also say their investments are in something ambiguously trendy like cryptocurrencies, forex, or gold, without offering any fact sheets that you can study up on yourself.
They are regulated by Malaysia’s Securities Commission which you can check for by entering the company name on their official website.
They are not regulated by the Securities Commission and give you several excuses why that’s the case. While whatever they say may have sound logic behind it, understand that when you deal with an unregulated investment entity, your investments are not at all protected by Malaysian law.
The funds are managed by an entity separate from the operators themselves and there’s a clear, simple, and easy process to withdrawing your funds.
Your funds are held directly by operators and the process of getting your funds out is tricky, complicated, or difficult.
Schemes and scams like this operate on the schemers knowing that people are often willing to go to great financial lengths to grow their cash. It becomes especially attractive when we assume there’s a secret trick to getting easy, fast cash. Unfortunately, that’s never how it works in the real world. It’s up to us to keep informed and be more knowledgeable about our finances so we don’t fall into this trap ourselves.
You may have close friends or acquaintances who have already sunk in their cash into money games and are benefiting from it handsomely. They might be 0.001% who are lucky enough to get out before their downlines catch up to them. But don’t let their apparent success lure you into thinking money games are ethical, legal, or reliably lucrative because it’s none of those things. Even if by pure chance they do well right now, the authorities are never far behind as they’ve already clamped down on several of these unscrupulous companies recently.
Investments aren’t magic and it takes a while for you to earn dividends so if it looks too good to be true, it absolutely is. If you’re looking for ways to grow your money without things getting weird on you, we recommend starting out with a fixed deposit and go from there. Be safe!
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