Loan scams has evolved overtime to become a worrisome trend. The Singapore Police Force has been actively cautioning the public against loan scams, which have possible links to unlicensed moneylending.
In 2019, at least 1700 cases have been reported, with at least $6.8 million cheated.
how IT starts
When a victim:
- Receives unsolicited calls or SMSes, or responds to loan advertisements from other social messaging / media platforms; and
- Being mislead to take up loan scam offers
The suspected scammer:
- May impersonate as a staff from a licensed moneylender, or
- May impersonate as a staff from a government agency.
- May instruct the victim to transfer a sum of money as a deposit before the loan can be approved/ disbursed., or
- May deceive the victim into believing they were sent 'official' documents purportedly from government agencies that requests a deposit sum with GST for the loan amount, before it can be approved, or
- May deceive the victim into believing they were sent 'official' documents purportedly from government agencies, that their loan request had been processed.
what can happen
For victims who were deceived by loan scammers or 'fake' licensed money lenders:
- No loan was disbursed after victim transfers the money.
- After contacting the respective licensed moneylenders that the scammer had claimed to represent, the victims only realise the person whom they had been corresponding with was not a licensed moneylender and never existed.
For victims who declined to make payments to 'fake' government agency representatives:
- The perpetrators would harass victims by claiming that the loans have already been processed/ approved, and that they had to pay a processing fee to cancel the loans.
HOW TO SPOT A SUSPECTED LOAN SCAM
Always be suspicious when you detect any of the following:
« Unsolicited phone calls/ messages that provide offer loans (Note: Licensed moneylenders are disallowed to make cold calls).
« Google advertisements offering loans. They are designed to deceive and lure visitors to a loan scam website.
« Social media advertisements offering loans. These are fake, and created to convince visitors that they are legitimate.
« Business websites offering loans. Be wary of fake sites mimicking real licensed moneylenders websites created to convince visitors that they are legitimate.
« Loan offers / loan rates that sounds too good to be true.
« 'Trial' loan offer.
« 'Guaranteed' loan approval.
« Loan does not require credit screening.
« 'Instant' and 'fuss-free' loan approvals' using phone/ messages. No walk-ins to office for loan approval.
« Loans that request for high admin / processing fees.
« Act fast or loan offer expires soon.
« No loan agreement, incomplete or unlawful agreement presented.
The caller/ lender:
« Is unable to provide a physical address or other official contact details.
« Is not licensed by the Ministry of Law.
« Claims to be from a licensed moneylending company. DO NOT BELIEVE. These are impersonators!
« Directs you to their website to apply for the loan. DO NOT BELIEVE. They are unsecured and fake loan websites imitating the real licensed money lenders' websites.
At initial stages, they will come across as very friendly, highly persistent and convincing.
When faced with rejection, they may turn unpleasant and resort to using greed, fear and/or threat tactics .
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM A LOAN SCAM
« ALWAYS ignore, report and block unsolicited phone calls/ messages offering loans.
These are loan scams and suspected illegal money lenders. Some have been reported impersonating as licensed money lenders.
«ALWAYS ignore any loan offer advertisements on any social media platforms or on search engines.
These are loan scams and suspected illegal money lenders.
« If you accidentally pick up unsolicited phone calls offering you loans, immediately hang up.
These are loan scams and suspected illegal money lenders.
« Ignore loan offer advertisement brochures / posters illegally posted up in your neighbourhood/ estate.
These are suspected illegal money lenders. Help take them down and discard them in the bins to protect members of the public from falling prey to such borrowings.
« Never give out your:
- NRIC-, passport- or work permit- details to anyone,
- Bank account, credit card or Singpass details,
- Residential address details,
- Next of kin details (i.e. family members, relatives),
- Never accept any money from strangers regardless the amount, and
- Never give away your money.
« To proactively find a licensed moneylender, download the Ministry of Law's List of Licensed Money Lenders in Singapore list HERE.
LICENSED vs unlicensed money lendERS
HELP FIGHT LOAN SCAMS
PROTECT YOUR LOVED ONES
If you come across any loan scammers impersonating as licensed money lenders, contact and report it to the affected company using the Ministry of Law's List of Licensed Money Lenders in Singapore list HERE.
To provide any information related to loan scams:
- Submit all unsolicited phone numbers/ messages offering loans to: www.police.gov.sg/iwitness
If you know of any victim of such scams:
- Call Police hotline at 1800.255.0000, or
- Lodge a police report at: www.police.gov.sg/e-services, or
- For urgent Police assistance, dial ‘999’.
For advices related to loan scams, refer to National Crime Prevention Council:
- Call Anti-Scam Hotline: 1800.722.6688, or
- Visit: www.scamalert.sg, or
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in illegal loansharking activities:
- Call 'X Ah Long' Hotline: 1800.924.5664
Learn Crime Prevention tips for >>
Unlicensed Money Lending/ Anti-Loansharking
Visit Scamalert.sg to read more on >>
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