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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.