When it comes to a loan shark, Singapore citizens are best advised to ‘not transact with them’. These are unlicensed lenders who offer very high interest rates. Mostly they turn to threats and pressure to frighten borrowers who cannot repay their personal loans. These lenders are not licensed thus they transact illegally.
Throughout the years, we have heard many people who are struggling with financial stability have unfortunately fallen into the ploy of Ah Longs. A person may think that their choice of lender is the best one, but it is always recommended that you check on your lender before proceeding to do any business with them. This is so that you are ensuring of you and your financial safety as well as being risk-free.
They have been viciously taking advantage of the needy people. In the latest loan shark news in Singapore, it was reported in the Straits Times that loan sharks now are using false stay-home notice ads on social media platforms in order to recruit runners for harassing debtors.
Therefore, in this article, we inform you of ways to spot a loan shark and ways to report on their illegal business.
Who are Loan Sharks?
Singapore loan sharks are entities that supply loan money to people with appalling interest rates for repayment. Not only that, when a borrower pays off their debts late, these illegal lenders use dangerous ways of provoking violence.
In contrast with licensed moneylenders, who would have to be issued a license number from the Ministry of Law, all of their business practice will be regulated by the authority.
How to Know If I am Dealing with a Loan Shark?
Until today, loan sharks may exist in every country around the world. In Singapore alone, it is assessed that there could be more than a thousand of these unlicensed quick cash-makers. With that said, according to the Ministry of Law, there are approximately 160 accredited moneylenders and ethical.
Below are the information on spotting their tricky gameplay:
- Their transactions with their clients are based on a false contract with illegitimate terms and conditions.
- They offer you loans without considering your current income.
- They do not operate their business with a legal domain or address.
- They imply excessive interest rates and hidden charges.
- They do not own a license number from the Ministry of Law.
Other than that, you should research and read about the moneylender you are choosing to work with before anything else. Apart from them, be wary of suspicious actions by them such as using abusive language or behaving in a terrorizing manner towards you.
Also, it is a red flag when they start asking for your SingPass user ID and password, keeping your NRIC card or any personal identification cards or documents. This is because licensed money lenders are not permissible to do so. It also includes your driver’s license, passport, working permit, employment pass as well as your ATM cards and bank accounts information.
Pertaining to your loan agreement, instantly stay away and cut off contacts if they ever ask you to sign on a blank or a contract with incomplete information for the loans. Assure that you read every term and conditions written on the contract. If they do not prepare any and do not explain to you in detail the information you should know, cancel your application.
Also, if they easily grant you any loan amount you ask for without practicing legal moneylending business practices, do not proceed. This means that they are fine with any amount you ask for without requiring any loan application form and supporting documents, even your payslips.
They also could Ah Long or loan sharks when they only approve your application through an SMS, a phone call or an email without documentation mentioned previously.
Be educated and well-versed on the interest rates you may be charged, even before applying for any loan. According to the Ministry of Law Moneylenders’ Act, the maximum rate of interest a licensed money lender can charge is 4% per month. If a borrower fails to repay the loan on time, the maximum late interest rates a money lender can charge is 4% per month for each month the loan is repaid late. If this is not it in your case, seize the transactions right away.
What Can I Do If I Am Transacting With Loan Sharks?
1. Seek for a financial advisor’s help
It is always advisable that you consult a legal financial adviser for lending concerns. In doing so, you avoid dealing with loan sharks. You will also know better ways of borrowing money from the descriptions that the loan advisor provides. One thing to always remember is that taking loans is not bad. Provided that you know where to get personal loans. Also, know how to manage the loan money.
2. Confirm the legitimacy of the lender
It is recommended that you confirm the lender’s information legitimacy. Recognize that many loan sharks present themselves as licensed lenders. But with some investigation, most can easily turn out to be illegal. Always ensure that you identify that the lender is certified. They should also have lending licenses issued by the government. When these are lacking, this raises a red flag, thus it is best you stop all other transactions.
However, when you already have taken a personal loan. Then you find out when it is too late that your lender is illegal. You could still leave this situation unharmed.
3. Stay calm
The first thing to do is to remain calm. Avoid showing the loan sharks that you know of their efforts of victimizing you. You could risk getting yourself into more problems.
4. Report illegal lenders to the proper authorities
The dealings of loan sharks go against the Singaporean law. Therefore, the next logical move is to report them to the relevant authorities. Let them know of all information you have identified, like who the illegal lender is, and ways that they operate. This is so that the criminal investigation department of responsible authority can act fast. If you hold records of the past transactions made with a loan shark. It will help with the investigation process. One important thing to note, ensure that the authorities know everything you know about the loan shark.
5. Report any continued pressure and threats
It is probable that the loan sharks will resort to pressures and threats. Even then, do not yield to the threats. Instead, immediately report them to the proper authorities. This will further help your case. This is because any continued threats may be used against them as evidence.
6. Stop making further payments
Immediately after reporting your situation to the right authorities. It is safe for you to stop making further payments for the debt. Since loan sharks are transacting illegally. It implies that they have no right to receive payments or lend money to debtors. Ensure that you know the law and your rights as a borrower. Then use this information against them.
Who Do I Turn To When Facing a Loan Shark?
Loan scams are illegal and not acceptable. You may be wondering about how to fight loan shark harassment. If you encounter any possibility, promptly report the illegal lender with their due information such as their money lender’s business name, as well as their contact number.
You may report any loansharking goings-on and suspicious persons in your neighborhood. Thorough descriptions will help authorities solve the case much sooner. The public may call the Police at ‘999′ or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 to report on anyone they are suspecting, uncertain of, and know are involved in illegal moneylending businesses.
If you are by any chance in a rut of having to deal with a loan shark, get help instantly. Do not go with their vicious flow of forking out all of your money. Below are the authorities you can reach out to in order to make you secured:
1. Credit Counselling Singapore
You may directly call them at 6225-5227 or log onto their website at here.
2. National Council on Problem Gambling
They are always ready to help you on their hotline, 1800-6-668-668. Besides, you can go to their website.
Give them a call at 1800-222-0000 immediately. Here is their website you can get help from too.
Remember that there is always a way out – more secure ways. Other alternatives may not offer you as much as loan sharks do, but they are definitely safer. It is understandable that one may be at their lowest part in life and in desperate need of money. However, wise, informed, and legal choices are to be prioritized.
Whenever you are faced with a challenge of a financial bump, make a research of the financial aids options that legitimate for you to consider. Though you might be getting any possible amount you can with these illegal lenders, it is never worth it to put your life, your loved ones, and your financial safety in danger.
If you are looking out for the licensed moneylenders in Singapore, there are many reputable ones and you also check them all out here on the list of best money lenders of our choice of all time. It is guaranteed that as a borrower you are going to be entertained with the utmost professionalism and the actual financial officers are going to help you out with their due diligence.