THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued warnings to the public against investing in groups named E-Work Online Digital Marketing Services (Ework) and Quick Options.

The corporate regulator posted advisories on its website for investors to be cautious of representatives of the two groups, which it said are soliciting investments without authorization from the government.

Ework, which the SEC said it found operating online, is enticing the public to open an account in its platform by paying P1,000 for every account. A member may open up to 31 accounts and earn not less than 156% of his investment after 16 days.

Profits come through watching videos and recruitment, priced differently whether they are direct referrals or matching/pairing.

The SEC said this scheme is equivalent to selling securities, which requires that operators register with the commission in order to be legal.

Ework is not registered with the SEC and did not acquire the secondary license to sell securities, making it a violator of the Securities Regulation Code.

Quick Options is also operating online and uses the pseudonym “Prince Toh Reez” in dealing with investors. The SEC noted it is the same group that runs Ethmarket Llc/Ethmarket Llc Ph, against which it had previously issued an advisory.

Quick Options offers investment packages requiring a deposit of $10–400 and promises an income of 200% after about seven days. Additional earnings may also come from referral bonuses.

Like with Ework, the SEC said Quick Options’ scheme is equivalent to selling securities in the form of investment contracts. To be legal, an operator must obtain a license from the government to solicit investments from the public.

The SEC said neither Quick Options nor Prince Toh Reez are registered with the commission and have a secondary license to operate an investment scheme.

For violating the Securities Regulation Code, the two groups may be penalized with a fine of up to P5 million, imprisonment of up to 21 years, or both.

The names of everyone involved in Ework and Quick Options will be reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenue for appropriate penalties.

The SEC is advising the public to stop investing in both groups and to be cautious in engaging with their representatives.

“The public must be wary that any promise of ridiculous rates of return with little or no risks is an indication of a Ponzi Scheme where monies from new investors are used in paying fake ‘profits’ to earlier investors. Also, any promise that defies the normal financial logic is surely unreliable and sketchy,” it said. — Denise A. Valdez