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Don't Be a Victim. Learn about these four financial scams today.

Don’t Be A Victim! Learn About These Financial Scams

We had previously talked about 7 great tips you can use to identify legal and illegal moneylenders. Read it if you haven’t, as it might just save you from heaps of troubles.

We at Empire Global greatly enforce the rules stipulated by IPTO and our loan officers always advise our customers on the proper loan terms.

A reminder, legal and licensed moneylenders do not send out SMS marketing messages. If you ever received one, it MUST be from an illegal source. But unfortunately illegal moneylenders aren’t the only problems that borrowers face nowadays.

There are always unscrupulous businessman and scammers who constantly think of new ways to trick you off your hard-earned cash. These usually come in the form of financial scams that are carefully disguised as legitimate businesses deals or easy cash. Falling into any one of these could mean landing yourself in huge debt or seeing your savings wiped clean.

4 Common Types of Financial Scams

Now let me quickly take you through these 4 most common type of financial scams and how to identify them with a help of a great educational video.

Ponzi Scam

Ponzi scams almost always lured victims with high short-term returns with low to zero risk, but things aren’t as good as it seems. Often victims will receive about 1-2 prompt returns on their investments (as advertised), but that’s as far as it goes.

The greatest Ponzi scam in Singapore was Sunshine Empire masking as a MLM business that promises extremely high returns. Lots of people around us at Empire Global had been duped by them.

Once the victims are convinced and hooked into investing more of their money, the scammer starts to disappear and becomes uncontactable.

Thus always remember the saying, “there is no free lunch in this world”. If the investment sounds too good to be true, or encountered such an attractive deal, do a research online (forums, news, government website) to prevent falling into such traps yourself.

Lottery winnings / Inheritance Financial Scams

These are one of the oldest scam out there. Typical a scammer will contact you about a huge windfall either through winning some lottery or inheritance.

These usually come in the form of an email/mail (usually very well written!), with proper letterheads, and promoting it as risk-free. This is to give you the perception that it comes from a legitimate source.

Once you bite onto the good news, they will then slowly bait you into transferring money as a “processing fee” or “handling fee” in order for them to transfer the winnings to you.

Phishing Scam

Phishing scams refers to scammers trying to impersonate as an existing legitimate business or government body to try to get your personal particulars or passwords etc.

Common ones are these online login website to your bank accounts. They develop a login website similar to those of the banks and trick you into keying in your personal data and passwords into the online form.

Hence, always ensure that the Bank login website that you are visiting is the correct and legit ones. Always check with the bank if you are unsure.

Illegal Moneylenders Scam

Today, we are also going to highlight another new financial scams scheme use by the illegal moneylenders in Singapore. If you think they only use SMS marketing to fake as legal licensed moneylender in their SMS message? You are wrong! They are more than just fake SMS marketing as licensed moneylenders.

In fact, there are even reported cases of scammers sending threatening SMS to their victims demanding for money that they have allegedly borrowed or payments that they have missed.

Read more on Watch Out! Illegal Moneylenders and the Ah Long Scams

What really forces the victims to comply is the scammer ability to identify them by their names and NRIC number. Which is then followed by a threat to the victim’s family members.

Once successful, the scammer will then instruct the victim to pay the money within an hour or less to a bank account. This is to prevent them from having the time to go seek for advice or help from other inclusive of the Police.

However, since the rise of such cases, the Singapore Police Force came out with some guidelines highlighted below that can help you avoid such financial scams.

  • Do not contact the senders of dubious messages or letters
  • Do not response to unsolicited demand for loan payments
  • Do not reveal your personal particulars such as Name, NRIC number, and address to unknown individuals
  • And always report to the police when such incidents happen.

You may just save you your hard earned cash and the agony of dealing with such incidents.

Here we are also sharing an infographic about financial scams around the World! Arm yourself and your families with this knowledge and prevent these from happening to you!

Infographic - Learn about financial Scams  happening around the world

Infographic – Learn about financial Scams happening around the world

Illegal Moneylenders Scam Alert

Watch Out! Illegal Moneylenders & The Ah Long Scams

Anyone catching up with the World Cup 2014 recently? We at Empire Global certainly have. Have you bet on a soccer match before? Know of friends who betted on sports and lost heavily? We believe this is becoming a norm to us all.

Rise in Illegal Moneylenders

If you have been catching up on our local news, there’s been a rise in local publications and awareness campaigns on punters borrowing from illegal moneylenders or loan sharks (also known as Ah Longs) to finance their gambling habits.

They take up high risk loans and some get conned into scams led by these illegal moneylenders. This shows the increasing rise in illegal moneylending and the risk awareness that the authorities are trying to put up front. Punters are being gamblers still delve into the habit of gambling.

Caution!!

A word of caution upfront: if you ever get caught up in borrowing from illegal moneylenders, it will be a bottomless pit of debt. Please be careful! Always check the source and seek advice or borrow from legal moneylenders instead.

As people get uptight about their money, they start borrowing or listening to any source that seem reliable. We have cases whereby borrowers have sought out illegal moneylenders that seemed legitimate, but yet ended up in even higher debts.

Read more on 7 Great Tips to identify legal moneylenders vs illegal moneylenders

 Rise of Technology And How You Are At Risk

With technology being easily available to all plus all everyone is getting on-board with social media, it has become easier for syndicates to retrieve all your private information and use it to their advantage. As time passes, these lenders get smarter and better hidden.

3 Rising Scams Run By Illegal Moneylenders or Scam Syndicates

Let us introduce to you 3 rising scams that have been run by illegal moneylender scam syndicates.

Scam No. 1: The Threatening Letter

Although this is seldom reported these days, but it was once at its peak.

Illegal Moneylenders Syndicate: Threatening Letter Scam

Illegal Moneylenders Syndicate: Threatening Letter Scam

A simple letter will reach your mailbox with similar content such as “ “We don’t want to disturb your family, neighbours or vehicle… Call this number… (dinosaur). If no return call, we will take action (last warning).” Some letters like the one shown will just plainly threaten others into fear.

You must be wondering how did the syndicate gotten hold of the address. This is a harassment and a scare tactic that the illegal moneylenders deploy.

Well, there are a couple of scenarios whereby this could have happened. It could be a simple contest or survey whereby your personal details have been leaked. The government has taken strong approach on privacy protection this is done through PDPC.

Read more on: DNC Registry Do-not-call List: Goodbye to unwanted calls and messages

Or in the worst case, a borrower has misused your information to borrow money and placed you as a guarantor. The mistaken identity that borrowers use is commonplace, and it really disrupts your personal life as illegal moneylenders are all out to harass and embarrass you.

Read more on: New Loan-shark tactic or scam?

Scam No. 2: Frightening Phone Call Scam

Illegal moneylenders are now using your own mobile number to contact you. Using abusive language and forcing innocent parties to repay for loans that they did not borrow.

  1. They target people and send threatening calls to tell them to deposit money into their account. They play on people’s psychology by threatening harm on their family or loved ones.
  2.  They target people who have previously borrowed money from illegal moneylenders. The unscrupulous ones will sell or leak information that scammers can use. As these borrowers will less likely report to the authorities, they are the prime targets and are more willing to pay than face shame and embarrassment.
  3.  In addition, scammers make false loan claims of innocent victims and intimidate them to pay up unknown loans they had not taken.  These callers will follow up with continuous SMSes, threatening the family members of the victim.

Do check out this episode by Crimewatch SG, and the Ah-Longs scams that have been run by the syndicates.

Scam No. 3: SingPass Scam

Firstly requesting a SingPass ID Password is strictly forbidden by law. Illegal moneylender syndicate start to request SingPass on unknowingly victims by assuming fake identities of legitimate sources. With a SingPass access, scammers can gain access to personal information

Illegal Moneylenders Scam Syndicates request Access to Singpass Login.

Illegal Moneylenders Scam Syndicates request Access to Singpass Login.

The Battle Against Illegal Money Lenders

The battle against Ah Longs (illegal moneylenders) is long and hard. It has since intensified when NCPC and SPF joined hands to launch a nationwide campaign to eradicate them. There are now campaigns consisting of Roadshows, TVCs, billboards and awareness movements to educate the public about the dire consequences of borrowing from unlicensed moneylending syndicates (Ah Longs).

As licensed moneylenders, Empire Global has strongly supported the movements and advise our customers to practice due diligence and for some not to repeat the past borrowing mistakes they had with illegal moneylenders.

The above scam practices are unacceptable of licensed moneylenders. If you encounter such money lenders, you should report it to the Registry of Moneylenders.

We highly encourage you to share this information to your network to highlight the alarming scams that are run these days.

Read more on: Why borrow from licensed moneylenders

Help Take Action: The X-Ah-Long Hotline

The hotline is at 1800-X-AH-LONG or 1800-9-24-5664, and allows the public to provide information on loan sharks anonymously. If you are in trouble or see others in trouble, please, help to reach out to the hotline and help to take action.