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Choosing Loan Sharks Can Put Your Lives In Danger

Oct 07, 2016

Learn how to avoid borrowing from loan sharks (ah longs) which can put your life and others at risk. If this newspaper report on loan shark harassment case is anything to go by, it may not even be your loan borrowing or your life that is at stake, when it comes to provocation at the hands of illegal moneylenders. You may be facing financial difficulties and needed quick cash but have bad credit, or looking for personal loans with no credit check. You may have played guarantor for a friend or family member, in good faith and in absolute confidence that they can repay the loan on time. Whatever be the reason; chances are you will end up paying the price for taking or sponsoring a loan from unscrupulous lenders. Ah Longs are unlicensed money lenders in Singapore whose services aren’t approved under the Moneylenders Act. And yet; many flock to them for fast loans or emergency funds.

Avoid Falling Into Loan Shark’s Honey Trap

Why do Singaporeans or Singapore residents fall prey to false pretences, and seemingly, friendly overtures of illegal moneylenders?
  • In many cases, shady operators advertise their services through SMS, calls and only have an online presence. You never met them in person and don’t know who you’re chatting with online.
  • In other cases, you blindly trust recommendations from an acquaintance or someone that you have just met. You borrow from unknown avenues that turned out to be unlicensed ones.
  • Some borrowers either low or no credit score, and/or a lot of debt in their name, and desperately needed cash. Ah longs are their first option as they expect to be rejected by legitimate places.
  • As a money loan seeker, particularly a foreigner, you may have tried approaching 2-3 licensed money lenders but with no luck, forcing you to go to unlawful outlets.

Identifying Unlicensed Money Lenders

However desperate you’re for a loan, take a step back when you interact with someone willing to lend money without paper work. Avoid getting tricked by remembering four basic rules that they break:
  • Authorised money lenders cannot use mobile messages, phone calls, social media, and online services linked to betting or gambling to advertise their services. If you found one through these types of media, it is definitely questionable.
  • Legally approved private lenders have to be registered under law. You’ll find a list of registered companies, including the company name, on the site maintained by Law Ministry. Ask for the license number and verify it before you sign on the dotted line.
  • Ah longs ignore paperwork and provide instant cash which helps them thrive. One tell-tale sign of an illegal moneylender is their willingness to make online bank transfers or visit you to hand over cash. A lawful company will unlikely adopt these practices.
  • Unscrupulous lenders will ask for SingPass details on the phone or insist on keeping your NRIC documents with them. Legitimate credit companies will verify SingPass online at their office and in your presence. And also return your original documents.
Loan sharks will not just use your financial and personal details to harass you for any delay in monthly repayments, but resort to threats and harmful acts to make you pay. Play safe and seek a licensed moneylender in Singapore to tide over your financial woes today!

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