The Securities and Futures Commission is investigating an investment scheme that has sought to attract pensioners and housewives with claims of returns of up to 25 per cent a month, or 300 per cent a year, according to sources familiar with the inquiry. The commission yesterday warned investors 'to be wary of investment plans that sound too good to be true'. The SFC, which declined to identify any specific companies, said it had received reports of an investment company holding seminars in Hong Kong at which the public was asked to invest in a mutual fund plan that claimed to offer the attractive return. 'However, the plan only explains vaguely how it invests the money pooled,' the SFC said in a statement. 'It has also been reported that participants are told that they will get bonuses by referring other people to join the plan, similar to a pyramid selling scheme.' The commission said the company involved ran scam investment websites that were on the SFC investor alert list. A website of a company, identified by sources close to the commission as the one in question, carries information in English and simplified Chinese encouraging people to join an investment fund with amounts of US$10,000 to US$100,000. The South China Morning Post is not naming the company for legal reasons. It claims the fund can give a return of 25 per cent a month, and provided that investors act as financial consultants to ask other people to join, they could earn more. The website claims to have a fund size of US$78 million. No information on the SFC website indicated that the fund or persons related to it are authorised and licensed by the SFC. A source said the SFC found that the company had previously only used e-mails or telephone calls to entice investors. More recently, it had hired local Chinese to hold seminars in older districts of Hong Kong - such as Temple Street and Po Ling Street in Jordan and Mong Kok - to give presentations in Cantonese to entice retired people or housewives to join the fund. The sources said the SFC investigation was continuing and it had not been decided if anyone would be arrested. The SFC said it did not consider it appropriate to name the parties involved at this time. Several websites believed to be related to the fund company have been identified in the SFC's alert list. 'Don't invest in any investment products which are too good to be true,' the SFC said.