A local man who borrowed $700 from a lender ended up losing $7500 to aggressive unlicensed moneylenders who conduct business via WhatsApp, out of fear for the safety of his loved ones.
Facebook user Alvin Lee took to social media to share that a man named Victor shared his loan services with Alvin over text. When Alvin enquired with the lender about getting a loan, Victor allegedly transferred $700 to Alvin as a “trial loan” and asked him to pay him back the following week.
When the time came to pay, however, Victor apparently delayed in giving his banking details to Alvin, causing Alvin to incur a $300 penalty fee:
“Long story short, this guy by the name of Victor texted me an advert. Thinking of getting a loan, I enquired from him. He transferred $700 to me as a trial loan. Said I need to return him $1000 the following week. When the date came, he delayed in letting me know the account number. So I had to pay a $300 penalty.”
The next week, Victor continued delaying giving Alvin his bank account number. This was when another man got in touch with Alvin and asked him to bank in the thousand dollars at a specified bank account.
This man confirmed that he was Victor’s colleague and so, Alvin transferred the sum to him. The man then asked Alvin if he was “Ken” and said, after the bank transfer went through, that he got in touch with the wrong guy to pay another loan.
The man, who identified himself as Jordan, said he will return the money in 3 days time. Victor finally reached out to Alvin and asked him for the $1000 Alvin owed him. Sensing something fishy, Alvin decided to cancel the loan arrangement:
“The following week, I’m supposed to pay him [Victor] $1000. He kept delaying in giving me the account number. Then someone texted me out of the blue, say to pay to an account before 630pm. I asked if he is Victor’s colleague, he said yes. I called Victor to verify but he didn’t pick up my call. So I transferred the $1000. Then this guy asked am I Ken? I said no. He asked for my mobile number and said he got my last 2 numbers mixed up. I asked him to transfer the money back to me. He said he need to check with his boss. And will return me in 3 days’ time. He identified himself as Jordan.”
“Victor called and asked what happened. I said I transferred the $1000 to his colleague. He said he didn’t authorise anyone to text me. Sensing something was wrong, I discussed with my family. They asked me not to take up the loan with Victor.”
Victor, however, informed Alvin that he would have to pay a hefty $2200 cancellation fee. Alvin agreed.
This was when a man named Kenny contacted Alvin and said he did not transfer the money properly and demanded that Alvin pay an additional $2500 before asking him to pay another $3500. It was at this point that Alvin contacted the police.
“Victor said I need to pay $2200 as a cancellation. I asked if i can do it over internet banking. He said yes. So I transferred that amount. Then he said the account holder whom he rented the account said it has to be cash deposit and demanded that I do it using cash deposit. I asked why can’t he withdraw the amount and cash deposit it himself. He said cannot. So i made a cash deposit of $2200 to him.
“And this Kenny guy said when I did the internet banking, I screwed up his order and demanded I pay another $2500. Fearing for the safety of my family, I paid. He said will return me the $2200 the next day.
“Come next day, he texted me saying he need $3500 for messing up his bank account. I didn’t reply. He texted again, saying his boss ask for $2000 to settle. I made a police report. And reported and block victor and Kenny number on whatsapp. The following night, my wife received 3 threatening messages. I made a police report for her. And 3 days later, the guy who said will pay me the $1000 never replied. So you can see, that’s how they scammed me.”
Alvin shared that he looked up the tactics of these WhatsApp loansharks online and found that they scam borrowers using “10 or 20 different numbers”. The only way to make a dent in their business to to report their messages as spam, according to Alvin and his source:
“It takes us 5 seconds to report their number and when their accounts are blocked on whastapp they would go into panic mode because a lot of their debtor information is on their whatsapp. The key function is to report them as spam and whatsapp will ban their account which would really hold them back and frustrate them more.”
Alvin proceeded to share the phone numbers of several unlicensed moneylenders who operate on text messaging apps and urged netizens to report these numbers. He said:
“I was scammed a total of $7500 out of fear for my loved ones. These cowards feed on fear. Let us each take a while to report and block these scammers from doing more harm to people around us.”
Read Alvin’s full post here:
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