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Police, MinLaw warn of new S’pore loan scam

SINGAPORE — The police and the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) have warned the public of a new type of scam where the perpetrators offer loans by unsolicited text message, then send purportedly official documents instructing the victim to hand over cash.

The police and the Ministry of Law have warned members of the public to be wary of unsolicited text messages offering loans.

The police and the Ministry of Law have warned members of the public to be wary of unsolicited text messages offering loans.

SINGAPORE — The police and the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) have warned the public of a new type of scam where the perpetrators offer loans by unsolicited text message, then send purportedly official documents instructing the victim to hand over cash.

Since September, more than 20 reports of the scam have been received, with victims cheated of at least S$110,000, the police and MinLaw’s registry of moneylenders said in a joint advisory on Monday (Oct 14).

If the victim responds to the text message offering loans, the scammers typically send documents that appear to be from MinLaw or the Monetary Authority of Singapore, or both, requiring the borrower to pay a deposit and 7 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) before the loan can be approved.

“The intent is to deceive the victims into believing that they are corresponding with a licensed moneylender,” the statement said.

In some cases, the victim may receive another document informing him that the loan request has been processed.

Even when the victim declines to make the payment, the scammers would harass him by claiming that the loan has already been approved and will only be cancelled if he pays a processing fee.

In the statement, the police advised the public not to respond to such messages. Instead, recipients should block or report the number as spam on WhatsApp or through third-party applications.

Members of the public should also refrain from giving out personal information — such as their NRIC, SingPass or bank account details — to anyone.

The police said that licensed moneylenders are not allowed to make any cold calls or send unsolicited text messages to members of the public.

Members of the public who wish to take out a loan need to show up physically at the licensed moneylender’s office in order to have it approved.

This is because moneylenders are obliged under the law to verify the identity and particulars of the borrower at their office, the police said.

A licensed moneylender will not ask a loan applicant to make any payment before the disbursement of the loan, the police added.

This includes GST and other fees such as administrative and processing fees.

“An administrative fee may be charged by the (licensed moneylender) after the loan has been granted, but this will usually be deducted from the loan principal that is disbursed to the borrower,” the police said.

Members of the public may also call the police helpline at 1800-255-0000 to provide information on scams, or make a report at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

To seek scam-related advice, the public can call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg.

Related topics

scam loan cheating money

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