THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continued to flag groups that are soliciting investments from the public without authorization from the government.

The corporate regulator issued new advisories on Wednesday to warn the public against Captcha Philippines, Inc.; Xtreme House of Beauty Trading Corp.; Crypto Invest With Us (CIW.U); Won Project/Won Network/Won Foundation; and Fil-Invest.

Anyone representing these groups, it said, are operating illegally as they have not obtained licenses from the SEC to offer investment opportunities to the public.

“The public is advised not to invest or stop investing in any investment scheme being offered by any individual or group of persons allegedly for and in behalf of (the identified companies),” it said.

Captcha Philippines invites members to buy an account for P2,500 in exchange of a 20% daily return of 600% monthly return on investment. Members may earn more if they get to recruit members and solve Captcha tests.

Xtreme offers different packages for marketing plans that are designed to get more members through referrals. The packages are sold for as low as P1,888 for students, senior citizens and special cases, and as high as P28,888, with the promise of a maximum income of P300,000, depending on a member’s availed package.

CIW.U was found by the SEC as the same group that operated Mag Invest Ka Online (MIKO), which has been flagged by the SEC in early April. Similar to MIKO, CIW.U runs its business by promising a 1% return after six days and possibly 5%, 8%, 10%, or up to 20% weekly return depending on trading.

Won Project, which the SEC said is the developer of Woncoin, claims to be a Singapore-based company that engages in cryptocurrency. It said its main projects are its mobile application and multi-level marketing that “tokenize” remittances of overseas Filipino workers, online payments, digital-loading, air ticketing and travel and tours. But the SEC found it sells the Woncoins to offer investment packages in exchange for a daily profit of 1.5% on weekdays.

The SEC noted that Fil-Invest is not affiliated with Filinvest Development Corp. or any of its subsidiaries. It solicits investments from the public to be used in gambling activities, particularly in playing Baccarat, in exchange of a 5% to 20% monthly return.

“CIW.U, Won Project, Captcha Philippines, Fil-Invest and Xtreme have neither registered securities such as investment contracts nor secured secondary licenses to solicit and take investments from the public, as required under Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code,” the SEC said in a statement.

It also noted that it had issued warnings against at least 43 individuals and groups for operating unauthorized investment activities since the country was put in a state of public health emergency in March.

People behind these operations may be fined up to P5 million, imprisoned for up to 21 years, or both, for violation of the Securities Regulation Code. — Denise A. Valdez