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How to Deal with Loan Shark Harassment in Singapore

How to deal with Loan Shark Harassment
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Many people believe that loan sharks are a thing of the past, but the truth is that they’re still out there and they prey on unsuspecting borrowers.

If you’ve been harassed by these predatory debtors, it’s important to know how to handle them. This post will provide you with information on how to deal with loan sharks, and what borrowers are advised to do in order to protect themselves from unlicensed moneylenders.

How to Solve Loan Shark Problems in Singapore?

1. Stay calm

This may seem difficult, especially when you’re fearing for your safety. But it’s important to stay calm and not give in to their threats! This could escalate the situation putting you more at risk and worse off than before.

Consider changing some of your personal information like mobile numbers, social media accounts, as well as bank account numbers if needed.

2. Call the police

An unlicensed moneylender is scaring and harassing you? Don’t let them get away with it. Call the policemen immediately! They’ll be able to protect your life, property, or both.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Call at ‘999’ or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664
  • Or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

3. Stop making further payments

Once you’ve contacted the police report and filed a complaint, stop making payments to your loan sharks. They may threaten you with legal action, but remember that it is illegal for them to do so because of their debt collection practices as well as how they are transacting illegally.

4. File a complaint with the Registry of Moneylenders

You can contact the Registry at telephone number: 1800-2255-529.

Rest assured that the Registry will not disclose your details to a moneylender without getting consent first. To facilitate investigation for your complaint, you may need to attend an interview and provide all relevant information and documents related to loans transactions from the lender as well as specific circumstances of dealings between you two.

The registry views complaints against them seriously and investigates thoroughly so it can take appropriate measures against unlicensed moneylender providing no leniency is granted on their side either.

The Latest Loan Shark Activities in Singapore (as of July 2021)

Singaporean loan sharks have been known to be notorious for their dangerous business practices. The following stories highlight some of the more frightening scams they use in order to hook unsuspecting victims and take all they can from them, without remorse or pity.

Fake food deliveries

Authorities have found a new way loan sharks are terrorizing citizens – ordering voluminous amounts of food from delivery services.

The scammers order the deliveries pretending to be regular customers, and then bully borrowers into paying back their debts by delivering massive orders at random times during the day or night.

Unsolicited loan advertisements over text messages

In a two-week operation, unlicensed moneylenders raided all over the island and arrested 11 people for harassing debtors in their homes. The 36 suspects were runners who assisted loan sharks by transferring cash from ATMs to those with outstanding debts.

Vandalism and locking of borrower’s gates

After being alerted to a case of loan shark harassment, the authority found graffiti scrawled on the wall next to an entrance gate of a flat in Jalan Tenteram that had been sealed with a bicycle lock.

How To Verify The Legitimacy Of The Moneylender

The Ministry of Law is the one who registers all licensed lenders and sets standards that must be met by agencies under the Moneylenders Act. The Credit Collection Association of Singapore has set a Code of Ethics for its credit collection agencies.

Before visiting a licensed lender’s website, you are also strongly encouraged to verify the website address using only the list of licensed moneylenders.
Visit this link to see the full list of licensed moneylenders in Singapore.

Red flags to spot loan sharks

Loan sharks are ruthless and will do whatever it takes to get their money back. They’ll make threats, use intimidation tactics like vandalizing your property if you don’t pay them on time.

In order to avoid these baddies from snatching up all of our hard-earned cash in one swoop—here’s what red flags look out for:

1. Send Messages Through SMS or WhatsApp

If loan sharks approach you through SMS or WhatsApp messages, with deals that seem too good to be true, keep your wits about you! All licensed debtors are limited to advertise to only three channels:

  • Business or consumer directories (in print or online media)
  • Websites belonging exclusively to them
  • advertisements placed within or on the exterior of the lender’s business premises.

All other means of advertisement have been barred.

2. No Physical Office

The government of Singapore requires all licensed debtors to have a physical office for their business, which you must visit in person to discuss the terms, sign the contract, and receive the cash. Loan sharks usually approve loans remotely and therefore cannot provide an address for the brick and mortar office.

3. Approve the loan without considering the borrowers’ repayment capability

Loan sharks are in the business of lending money, but they don’t check to see if their customers can pay back what is borrowed and approve packages without checking credit scores, employment status, and identity.

Note that licensed lenders, even though known as lenient when it comes to requirements and eligibility, will still factor in your income and credit score before approving your application.

4. Charge more than the permitted fees 

Interest rates: The interest set by licensed lenders are regulated to not exceed 4% per month. Loan sharks usually charge more than the permitted rates monthly.

Charges: If you fail to repay the loan by its due date, then your monthly late service fee will not exceed 4%. This applies regardless of whether or not you have income and if this was an unsecured or secured loan.

Fees: There are restrictions placed by law in Singapore about what fees can be imposed:

  • $60 per month late fee
  • 10% of the principal upfront (the amount borrowed)
  • Legal costs ordered by court for a successful claim by the moneylender for the recovery of the loan.

On the other hand, moneylenders, as regulated by the Moneylenders Act, are licensed businesses that provide you loan packages with fair terms and no high credit score required.

5. Lend you more than 6 times your monthly salary for unsecured loans

For secured loans, your loan amount is up to you! For unsecured loans, the table below will tell you exactly how much moneylenders in Singapore are willing to lend.

Borrower’s annual income Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents Foreigners residing in Singapore
Less than $10,000 $3,000 $500
At least $10,000

and less than $20,000

$3,000
At least $20,000 6 times monthly income 6 times monthly income

 

How to settle/negotiate with the licensed lenders?

Social service agencies can help consumers recover from serious debt problems by providing general credit management information, credit counseling, and where applicable, assistance in negotiating a debt repayment plan with creditors.

Note that the Registry of Moneylenders cannot assist you and is not in the position to negotiate with your loans.

Here are some social service agencies recommended by the Min Law:

  • Adullam Life Counselling
  • Address: 151 Chin Swee Road #08-04 Manhattan House Singapore 169876
  • Tel no.: 9423 8832
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP)
  • Address: 1 Pasir Ris Drive 4 #05-11 Singapore 519457
  • Tel no.: 6416 3960
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Arise2Care Community Services
  • Address: No. 5 Harper Road #02-01A Singapore 369673
  • Tel no.: 6909 0628
  • Email: [email protected]

Conclusion

In the event of a financial crisis, you may be desperate to take out easy credit loans from loan sharks. However, there are legal and reliable debtors that can provide assistance in these situations.

As a responsible borrower, always keep in mind to:

  • Verify the license with the Ministry of Law in Singapore
  • Check the lenders’ credibility with Google Reviews
  • Seek the Police help when dealing with loan sharks
  • Licensed lenders can offer you up to 6 times your monthly salary with no collateral and high credit score required
  • Only borrow what you can afford to avoid getting into deeper debt

Lastly, shop for loan options to compare and get the best deal! Loan Advisor is an online comparison service that allows you to request up to 3 loan quotes from legal lenders. Just fill out the form and get your options in a few minutes!

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