When you are urgently in need of some cash to pay your bills or to settle some payment, we understand that you may feel desperate or stressed. However, take a deep breath and be clam before making any decision.
If you are considering to take a personal loan from a licensed moneylender, please do take your time to verify and source for a legal moneylender.
There are increasing number of scams and unlicensed moneylending reported during the first half of this year. These scams and unlicensed moneylending tends to deceives victims into taking loans.
So let’s take a look at the differences between legal moneylender and illegal moneylender/scammer
1: Google Search
The first thing you may do is to Google search a moneylender. You may key “personal loan” or “moneylender” etc. When you see the list of results, please do not click on the website with “Ad”. As all licensed moneylenders do not use Google Ad. Those websites with “Ad’ are mostly illegal moneylender.
2: Claim to be a licensed moneylender
Scammers or illegal moneylenders will try to call you or message you, claiming to be a licensed moneylender. They may even mimic a licensed moneylender’s company name, website, office address and licensed number etc. Licensed moneylenders are disallowed to solicit for loans via text messages, phone calls or social media platforms.
3: List of licensed moneylender
There may be a website link provided by them, and these websites tends to look formal and official. However, please do search for the official list of licensed moneylenders under Ministry of Law as well, in order to verify that it is the official website of that particular licensed moneylender.
In addition, if you happen to see a link for the “List of Licensed of Moneylender” on their website, which looks similar to the PDF – “List of Licensed Moneylenders in Singapore” on Ministry of Law website. These PDF links may be outdated or even edited for their own personal gains.
Please always refer to the official website of Ministry of Law for the latest and accurate version of the List of Licensed Moneylenders.
4: Provide attractive rate
Scammers or illegal moneylenders will advertise a very attractive rate in order to deceive victims into taking loans.
While for licensed moneylenders, all fee and interest rates are regulated and stated clearly on the loan contract. Besides, a copy of loan contract will always be provided to the borrower.
For charges and fee, please click here to know more.
5: No official office address
Scammers or illegal moneylenders might claim that with technology, and the ongoing COVID-19, loan applications could be done online via WhatsApp or phone call.
For licensed moneylender, before granting any loans. All loans application must be done in person at the approved place of business, to conduct a physical face-to-face verification.
6: Request for personal information via WhatsApp
Scammers or illegal moneylenders tends to request for your personal information via WhatsApp message and phone call. Personal information includes your payslips, residential address, bank account number, photo of NRIC, SingPass, etc.
Please do not send your personal information to an unknown contact. Your SingPass is confidential.
7: Requesting to pay different type of upfront fee before loan disbursement
Scammers or illegal moneylenders may offer attractive loan amounts and interest rates. For example $100,000 over an extended period of 24 months or even more. However, before the loan disbursement, they will request you to make a payment for “processing fee” or “GST fee” etc. Such accounts given tends to be a personal bank accounts such as savings accounts.
If you encounter such situation, do not not proceed with the transfer or transaction. It is highly suggested to cease all communication with them and report to the police as you may be a victim of a scam.
If you encounter any of suspected scam or illegal moneylender, please report to Police hotline 1800-255-000 or National Crime Prevention Council’s X-Ah Long hotline 1800-924-5664. Alternatively, you may submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.