Sebi detects new way of duping investors

(TOI: 10/4/2013) Page – 24

Market regulator Sebi, with the help of Delhi Police, on Tuesday got wind of a new way of defrauding investors that the regulator believes could be widespread and cautioned investors to be on guard.

The regulator recently received a complaint that some unknown persons, claiming to be agents and brokers of mutual funds and insurance companies, had contacted an investor and said that the deceased son of the investor had invested in mutual funds which were to mature soon. Those agents said that to get the full amount from the fund house, the investor should issue a cheque in advance for a new mutual fund scheme or an insurance policy, failing which the complainant will lose a substantial portion of the maturity amount as broker commission, a Sebi release said. The regulator did neither disclose the identity of the investor nor the agents involved.

According to the release, the agents said the investor could get Rs 5 lakh if he/she did not make a further investment of Rs 2.5 lakh. However, if the investor did make the investment, he/she will receive Rs 12.5 lakh as the maturity amount.

On receiving the complaint, a Sebi team conducted a preliminary investigation and found that the phone numbers from which the agent had called were in some other name and also the name of the company as disclosed by the agent was different from the name with which the phone number was registered. “Sensing a clear attempt to defraud, cheat and misappropriate as well as mis-sell financial products, Sebi deputed an official to visit the complainant at the time of the visit of the agent,” the release said. It also sought the assistance of the economic offences wing of Delhi Police. “On perusal of the forms and after preliminary enquiries, the suspicions were confirmed that indeed there was an organized attempt by several people to defraud and mis-sell,” Sebi said. Subsequently, an FIR was being lodged with Delhi Police.

Sebi now suspects that the number of victims of such fraudulent attempts could be much higher. To prevent such frauds in future, Sebi has cautioned investors that they should verify the credentials of people approaching them as agents or employees of mutual funds and insurance companies before making any investment through such people.

MODUS OPERANDI

•Some persons claiming to be agents of MFs and insurance companies approached an investor claiming his/ her late son had invested in MFs that were to mature soon

•They told the investor that to get the full amount, the investor should write a cheque in advance to invest in an MF scheme or an insurance scheme, or he/she would lose a substantial sum as broker fees

•The investor wisely chose to inform Sebi, which found that it was a bid to dupe investors

‘जागो ग्राहक जागो’

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