Illegal Moneylenders: How To Identify Them

Nowadays, we tend to see two different aspects of goods and services.

In terms of goods, fake or counterfeit items are cheaper and look like the original, but as time passes, it will break easily because it was made with cheap material. In some instances, it can even affect your health and image the longer you use these fake items. You also cannot resell them once the obvious signs of wear and tear are visible.

On the other hand, authentic or original items are expensive, but are made of high quality and do what it promises to do. They also resell at a high value if you sell them through legitimate reselling shops.

Services also experience this two sides and they are known as legal and illegal services.

In Singapore, moneylending is an important industry because it is where people can go to if they want to borrow money fast without having to undergo long application times and approval or if they could not get personal loans from banks.

As a result, there are moneylenders sprouting in the shadows which are posing as legitimate moneylenders, but in truth are fake. Sadly, their appearance in the market has caused confusion amongst the public since they are unaware that these moneylenders are not what they seem to be.

How exactly do fake moneylenders work and how do they trick clients into believing they are legitimate moneylenders?

  1. Illegal moneylenders tend to mimic the style of legal moneylenders in terms of how their names sound and even replicate the license numbers used by legal moneylenders.
  2. Fake moneylender would have official-looking advertising materials, from flyers, social media sites, and websites and it will have the fake moneylender name and copied license number.
  3. Fake moneylenders would copy how official SMS from legal moneylenders and banks are written, then edit it to look like official messages with their name on it. They would also use professional-sounding staff to conduct the calls to make their offer sound authentic.

What do Legitimate Moneylenders Actually Do?

Since fake moneylenders copy or mimic the style of legal moneylenders and their credentials, it would be difficult for those who do not know what to look for to discern the moneylender’s trustworthiness.

In order to help you out, here are the things you should remember about the difference between legitimate moneylenders and fake moneylenders:

  • Legitimate moneylenders are not allowed by law to advertise their products and services through text, call or e-mail. They can only post their services through legal channels, such as their websites.
  • No loans are offered directly through clients and processed through mobile discussion by legitimate moneylenders. Clients must be the ones to inquire about their service through call or e-mail. Processing of applications is usually done both online and offline.
  • Legitimate moneylenders also do not use mobile numbers when it comes to their advertisements. All legitimate moneylenders must use their phone numbers when posting their details on their website and other key areas, as well as when they contact clients.
  • Legitimate moneylenders do not ask clients to meet them face-to-face or provide income documents during these meetings. Clients simply have to apply through the moneylender’s website and wait for their appointment with the moneylender in their office before you can bring the necessary requirements. Legitimate moneylenders also do not keep personal information of clients or their documents.
  • Legitimate moneylenders also do not ask sensitive information such as SingPass for loan applications.
  • Legitimate moneylenders also sign a contract with their clients, which details the loan they have applied for, the amount borrowed, the repayment terms and the fees that must be paid by the client. This is the only document you will sign and keep as a proof of your transaction. If they violate the contract, you will be protected by law.
  • The interest rates and other related fees charged by legitimate moneylenders are fixed throughout a loan’s tenure. Legitimate moneylenders also ask only three different fees for loans: legal fees, late fees, and processing fees. Fake moneylenders would adjust the loan’s interest rates and ask extra fees which do not apply to your loan.
  • Legitimate moneylenders also do not use force when seeking late repayments. They will contact you through SMS, E-mail or visit your office or home to collect your payment. If you do have problems paying your loan, you can speak to them and seek an extension.

Still need some help?

If you are still uncertain about the moneylender you are looking for, you can do the following to help you decide if the moneylender you are looking at is legitimate or not:

  • Visit the website of the Singaporean Ministry of Law to view the full list of licensed moneylenders in Singapore. The list is regularly updated and free to view online. If you do not find your moneylender here, then you can use the list to find another possible moneylender.
  • Check the reviews of trusted Singaporean reviewers or blogs of past and current clients of these money lenders. Past and current clients, as well as Singapore review sites, are great places to see if the moneylender is legitimate or illegitimate and how well their services are like.
  • You can also visit the office of the moneylender in question to learn more about their offers.

Final Remarks

When looking for a moneylender that can help you with a personal loan, it is a must that you review the background of the moneylender you are considering before discussing details with them.

Knowing your future moneylender’s background would tell you a lot about their trustworthiness and if you are dealing with a legitimate moneylender. Knowing the current laws for moneylenders could also go a long way since it is a clear indicator on which moneylenders adhere to the rules and are recognized by the government and other financial bodies.

If you sign haphazardly on a personal loan offer without doing your research, you may find yourself in a heap of trouble especially if they are loan sharks.

Be careful and research before you sign!

Good luck!

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