As there has been a rise in fake finance companies waiting to prey on the gullible, the Reserve Bank of India has a few guidelines for people before they invest their hard-earned money.
One of the suggestions is to log in to the Sachet website of the RBI which offers investor awareness education and window to lodge complaints.
By scrolling through the website, people can know which are the entities that are authorised to accept deposits from the public and the entities to avoid.
For investment companies that offer ponzi schemes with exceptionally high returns, the Sachet website asks to check whether the company exists and is registered with the relevant authority.
There are nine regulatory authorities that give permission to companies accepting deposits from the public, according to the website.
The RBI is one of the regulating authorities while the other eight are: SEBI, Registrar of Companies, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, National Housing Bank, Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Registrar of Chit Funds, Union finance ministry and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.
For lay persons who have been approached to invest in some dubious investment scheme, the website offers the service of checking whether the company exists. People can ascertain whether the company is registered with one of the regulatory authorities in the Sachet website.
“There are no free lunches. If somebody is offering extraordinary returns one should be more suspicious. And if the returns are extremely high you can be certain that the so-called company is either going to invest the money in some illegal activity or the company itself is illegal and fly-by-night,” explained N J Nampoothiri, general manager, RBI- Goa.
According to Nampoothiri, the RBI has stepped up the efforts to make people alert on financial frauds by running campaigns by sports persons, film stars on television, newspapers and through mobile messages.
And the Sachet website is one of the platforms to crack down on phony finance companies.
According to the RBI, it can only deal with companies which are registered. It turns out that for unregistered companies the authorities are quite powerless.
Urging people to be vigilant, the RBI general manager said that banks offer returns in the range of 7-7.5 per cent and the share market gives an average return of 12 per cent.
“Extraordinary return can only occur if the company invests in some illegal or anti-social activities,” Nampoothiri said.
Since 2017, the economic offences cell of the Goa police has registered around 20 cases of financial frauds relating to investments, cyber crimes, ponzi schemes, etc.
A swindled investor has to follow a harrowing process to get back his money.
Some of the companies against whom complaints have been registered have shut shop.