In the past years, a lot of Singaporeans have relied on the help of loan companies and businesses for their personal or business survival.
The success of the lending industry in the country is partly due to the government's comprehensive and strict rules when it comes to borrowing and lending money. The rules and guidelines set by various agencies of the Singapore government have protected borrowers from abuse and exploitation.
Despite the existence of these laws and regulations meant to protect Singaporeans, there are also illegal and illegal lenders that have been trying to penetrate the industry. These illegitimate lending businesses are also called loan sharks or Ah Long. They are named as such because they prey on innocent and ignorant borrowers who are desperate to borrow money by all means.
What is a Loan Shark?
Loan sharks are lending businesses who work outside the laws, rules and regulations set by the government. In the case of Singapore, any loan company that is not included in the Registry of Moneylenders from the Ministry of Law is considered as a loan shark. But, aside from the issue of criminal offences, borrowers must at all times avoid loan sharks as these illegal businesses use violence, harassment, and intimidation to ask the loan to be paid back.
A loan shark tends to sweet talk borrowers promising them with unrealistic credit deals and terms. But in reality, a loan shark has extremely high-interest rates, unnecessary fees and charges, and unreasonable credit contracts. While dealing with loan sharks may sound ideal short term, borrowers lose in the long run.
Warning Signs to Be Aware of
Aside from referring to the official list of legal moneylenders, you can tell if a lender is a loan shark through some signs. If you encounter a lender who does any of the following, beware because chances are, they are loan sharks. Remember that loan sharks do not abide by the rules of the government. Hence, if you see a moneylender violating laws and rules, it is likely a loan shark.
1. Ask for your SingPass user ID and/or password
2. Choose not to return your NRIC card or other ID cards and personal documents
3. Ask you to sign on a blank or incomplete Note of Contract
4. Grant you a loan without giving you a copy, or explaining the terms and conditions of contract
5. Send you flyers, SMSes, emails or other forms of advertisements
6. Fails to give you a business address because they have none
7. Give you fake business websites to convince you that they are legitimate
8. Request for fees to be transferred to them before they can process your loan application
How to Deal With Loan Sharks
In no circumstance you should deal with loan sharks. The government, especially the police, reminds people never to take loans from an illegal lender. But, if you happen to enter into a contract with loan sharks, here is what you can do to get out of the situation.
1. Ignore such advertisements. Do not reply to these messages.
2. Do not give out your personal information such as NRIC, SingPass or bank account details to anyone.
3. If you receive a cold call or unsolicited text message from someone asking if you would like to take up a loan, call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 to verify. Visit Scam Alert to find out more information about loan scams in Singapore.
4. To report unlicensed lending, you can contact the Registry at telephone number: 1800-2255-529.
5. If you experience any form of violence or harassment, call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online here.
Dealing with a loan shark can be dangerous. Hence, do not hesitate to report the matter the authorities for advice and assistance.
In order to avoid dealing with a loan shark in the future, one must read and research on how to borrow money and take loans legally. Look online for new and recent scams and illegal schemes so you can be updated on what to look out for.
If you need to borrow money, there are a lot of legitimate businesses in Singapore who would lend you money with reasonable interest rates.
Always refer to the official list of the Ministry of law in order to be certain that you only deal with licensed moneylenders. Aside from legal moneylenders, you can also go to a bank or a pawnshop if you need money. Just be certain that you can pay back the money you are borrowing from these legal money lenders.
To know which legal money lender could give you the best credit deals, check out Moneylender Review to compare the best loan offer available in the market. We can give all the necessary information and advice you need to know before taking a loan.
We also have tons of resources to help you with any questions you have about credit, finance, debt, and many more. Our materials are friendly even to individuals who will borrow money for the first time.
Also, if you are borrowing money or taking a debt because of Covid 19, here are the financial support options offered by the government. The Singapore government has programs meant to help Singaporeans with low income or who have lost jobs. Find related news and financial advice from the government website. Aside from loans, you can also take grants meant for someone whose life has been affected by the pandemic.
Taking a loan from lenders can be helpful to everyone. This does not mean though that apply for a credit from a loan shark. Taking a deal with a loan shark is putting your life and the life of your family in danger. Remember that these illegal lenders are criminal offenders. These people will not hesitate to hurt you or your loved ones if you fail to pay your debt.
To look for lenders offering loans with low-interest rates, take time to compare credit companies and find which of them can provide you with the kind of service you are looking for. Pay attention to their interest rates, credit terms, extra pay and charges, and income requirements, so you know if they are the best one for you.