Singapore—There were 1,700 reported cases of loan scams from January to November 2019. Victims lost about S$6.8 million from the scams.
According to the Straits Times, there were only 990 cases of loan scams in 2018 with losses amounting to S$2 million.
Police said in an advisory that such scams were connected to illegal money lending schemes.
Targeted victims received an SMS or WhatsApp message offering them loan options from a supposedly licensed moneylender.
The victims were then told to transfer money as a deposit before the “moneylender” can disburse the loan.
But, the victims end up waiting for nothing. They would then contact the licensed moneylender and realise that the scammer impersonated this person instead.
Other victims received seemingly legal documents from the Ministry of Law and Monetary Authority of Singapore. The victims were told to pay a deposit and goods and services tax before their loan can be approved.
Some scammers were even more aggressive and harassed the victims into paying a cancellation and processing fee for a pre-approved loan they did not apply for.
Police urged the public to remain vigilant of such scams.
It is also reportedly illegal for licensed moneylenders to advertise loans through calls text messages. They will also not ask for any payment beforehand in order to disburse the loan.
Should you receive unsolicited messages for loans, it is best to ignore the offer and to block and report the sender’s number on SMS and WhatsApp.
It is also important to protect your personal information. The police reminded the public not to share personal details such as NRIC, SingPass or bank account details with anyone.
People may report loan scams to the police through 1800-255-0000, or send the information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. The 999 hotline is also available for urgent police assistance. Scamalert.sg is also an informative resource to protect oneself and one’s family against scams./TISG