KUCHING: The public must be wary of investment schemes that promises very high return and able to help investors make EPF withdrawals for their participation.
Employees Provident Fund (EPF) chef executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said several cases have been detected this year, where contributors withdraw large amount of money only to fall prey to such dubious schemes.
“The schemes promises investors the moon but disappear after they received the investment money from their customers,” Shahril said told reporters after opening EPF retirement talks roadshow here.
The schemes helped investors falsify documents to make fraudulent withdrawals such as for buying a house.
In the end, the victims not only lost their savings but stand to face legal actions for illegal withdrawal, he added.
“We have been advising our members to be wary of fraud investment schemes, especially one that promises impossibly high returns. These syndicates have ways to enable their potential investors make EPF withdrawal.
“Do not be duped by these fake investment schemes,” Shahril said adding that checks with housing developers and banks had led them to detect fraudulent withdrawal cases.
However, he did not reveal the number of cases or total amount of withdrawals.
EPF will make report police report against fraudulent withdrawals and offenders can face a hefty fine and even jail time if convicted.
He urged EPF members not to go through agents to make any withdrawals but deal directly with the agency at its branches when withdrawing money from their savings.
On a separate note, Shahril said about 6.9 million depositors were still actively contributing to their EPF accounts.
The agency said 65% members had less than RM50,000 in their account upon retirement and more worryingly, half of the members aged 55 and above exhausted their EPF savings within five years after withdrawals.
“The biggest thing that we can do is to help our members with financial planning. We also have phase withdrawal, where members can plan their budget instead of making lump sum withdrawal.
“Our financial planning services will help contributors to work out their budget accordingly. The phase withdrawal option has been successful among our contributors who understand the importance of not clearing out their savings at one time,” Shahril said on ways EPF could help its contributors manage their savings more efficiently.
He added that EPF had been actively engaging and communicating key initiatives to enhance the level of financial literacy among members and relevant stakeholders, with activities such as nationwide public briefings.
The two-day EPF financial literacy campaign here was the first to be held in Sarawak.
The event provided platform for members to obtain free retirement advice from EPF’s Retirement Advisory Service officers.