Got a message on Telegram offering loans? Ignore it.
For one thing, licensed moneylenders are not allowed to solicit loans via text messages, phone calls or social media.
It may also be a scam.
On Tuesday (May 10), the police warn of a money-lending scam where scammers would request victims’ confidential information to process loans and, in some cases, solicit payment for administrative fees.
Since January, the police have received at least 15 reports with victims losing a total of more than $20,000 to scammers.
In these cases, victims would receive unsolicited text messages through messaging apps, such as Telegram, offering loans.
Victims who replied with the intention to take up loans would be informed that it was necessary to share their Singpass credentials for the scammers to verify their employment status to facilitate loan approval.
After receiving the victims’ Singpass ID, password and SMS one-time password (OTP), the scammers would use the details to attempt to create bank accounts or sign up for telephone lines.
In some cases, victims were told to transfer money to bank accounts provided, as payment for administrative or collateral fees before the loan could be disbursed. Victims would only discover that they had been scammed when the scammers failed to disburse the loan as promised.
Licensed moneylenders are not allowed to solicit loans via text messages, phone calls or social media platforms.
Licensed moneylenders will not request CPF contribution or Singpass login details to facilitate loan approvals.
Licensed moneylenders are required to meet the borrower in person at the approved place of business to conduct physical face-to-face verification of the borrower’s identity before granting any loan. A loan transaction performed fully online is not allowed. The business address of each licensed moneylender is published on the Ministry of Law’s Registry of Moneylenders’ website at rom.mlaw.gov.sg/information-for-borrowers/list-of-licensed-moneylenders-in-singapore/.
Licensed moneylenders will not ask a loan applicant to make any payment (such as for GST, “admin fee”, “processing fee”, or any other fee) before the disbursement of a loan or to secure the disbursement of a loan.
Licensed moneylenders are only allowed to deduct an administrative fee from the loan principal that is disbursed to the borrower.
How to avoid getting scammed:
Ignore such advertisements and do not reply to these messages. Instead, block or report the number as spam on ScamShield (if you have an iPhone), Telegram or through other third-party applications.
Do not provide your personal information such as NRIC, Singpass ID, Singpass password and OTP to anyone. Stolen credentials may be used to open bank accounts which are then used for illegal transactions such as money laundering.
Make it a point to update your contact details so that Singpass can reach you promptly when important account changes such as password reset, registration of the Singpass app on a new device, and changes to the mobile number or email address registered with Singpass are made. These alerts sent via SMS or email notifications will allow you to take immediate actions to secure your account if required.
For issues relating to Singpass, you may contact the Singpass helpdesk at 6335 3533 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
You may also take these steps immediately if you suspect that your Singpass account has been compromised by resetting your Singpass password at go.gov.sg/reset-sp-pw; and check your Singpass transaction history for any suspicious activities.
Stay vigilant against evolving scams as malicious actors constantly change their mode of operations. For more information on scams, visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688.
Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential.