Loan sharks trick, shame debtors on social media
Illegal lenders purchase advertisements online to look post and legitimate pictures of customers to humiliate them into paying up
In the video, he declares his name, NRIC number and home address. And then confesses he has borrowed money from loan sharks.
Instead of hang pig’s heads on doors, loan sharks have actually developed a 21st-century approach of pestering debtors – posting their details on social networks with pictures and videos they had actually required as security.
Many organisations have an online presence, and prohibited lenders have actually cottoned on to how they too can create an air of legitimacy that could draw in unwary borrowers. Some tech-savvy loan sharks are masquerading as licensed moneylenders (LMLs) promoting their “services” online. This has led to an increasing number of individuals “wrongly” borrowing money from unlicensed moneylenders (UMLs), inning accordance with voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) who help those in debt.
Ads might appear on platforms like Facebook and Google, and some UMLs even have sites that look authentic.
This is in addition to unsolicited messages and calls from loan sharks using loans, stated the president of the Moneylender’s Association of Singapore, Mr Peter Tan. Since they presume that an illegal operation would not be promoting so honestly, he stated individuals are misled. When reached on the phone, some loan sharks even claim to be accredited if asked straight.
” This issue has actually been around for at least 2 years, but it’s ending up being more widespread as loan sharks get more brazen,” stated Mr Tan. “The irony is that certified lenders can not advertise on these platforms, however people do not know that.”
Mr Tan said he had brought this as much as the authorities.
When contacted, the authorities and Registry of Moneylenders said they were aware of the issue.
The law forbids certified money lenders from promoting their company through unsolicited calls or online ads and messages. They are allowed only to list their businesses in directory sites, or publicise their services on their own websites, and in materials available at their facilities.
Throughout the years, there have actually been more cases of loan sharks using names of registered lenders and producing authentic-looking websites, stated Mr Steven Loh, 44, a counsellor from Blessed Grace Social Services.
He stated some debtors are tricked because they do not know of the policies that bind LMLs, who can only make loans face to face at the workplace, and must provide loans in money or cheque.
” For loan sharks, all the deals happen online, and you don’t even meet the person,” he said.
Counsellor and board member at The Silver Lining Community Services, Madam Lucy Wee, 52, stated numerous loan sharks pretend to be genuine moneylenders when getting in touch with possible customers.
” In a moment of urgent monetary requirement, numerous don’t take the additional step to examine if the company or person is licensed. By the time they realise it’s a loan shark, it’s too late,” she said.
Another pattern seen by VWOs are loan sharks taking to social media to bug debtors.
In the past months, there have been websites, Facebook pages and even YouTube channels set up by supposed loan sharks who publish details, images and videos of those who default on their loans.
While the pages are usually removed within weeks, its purpose is to embarrass debtors and expose their debt to family and friends, said creator of Adullam Life Counselling, Mr Wong Kee Soon.
Mr Wong, 63, said these techniques of “shaming” are becoming more common. “Loan sharks do not just splash paint or put a pig’s head on your door anymore – they post hazards and vulgarities on your Facebook wall and your friends’ walls.”
Mr Loh stated loan sharks likewise tell borrowers to take video or images of themselves with their NRICs or any form of identification. When they default on their payments, the images and videos go on the internet.
Madam Wee stated: “( Licensed) lenders are an option for those who require money urgently but can not obtain from banks because of income concerns. But besides making sure they’re licensed, do your checks and estimations since if you’re unable to pay them back, you’re stuck in a vicious circle.”
A lot of organisations have an online presence, and unlawful lenders have actually cottoned on to how they too can create an air of authenticity that could reel in unsuspecting debtors. Some tech-savvy loan sharks are masquerading as licensed moneylenders (LMLs) promoting their “services” online. This is in addition to unsolicited messages and calls from loan sharks offering loans, said the president of the Moneylender’s Association of Singapore, Mr Peter Tan. He said people are misled since they presume that an unlawful operation would not be promoting so openly. When reached on the phone, some loan sharks even claim to be accredited if asked straight.