Police warn of money lending scams on Telegram and other messaging apps

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Got a message on Telegram offering loans? Ignore it.

For one thing, approved lenders are not allowed to solicit loans through text messages, phone calls, or social media.

It could also be a scam.

On Tuesday, May 10, police warned of a money lending scam where scammers would request confidential information from victims to process loans and in some cases seek payment of administrative fees.

Since January, police have received at least 15 reports of 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 responded with the intention of taking loans would be told that it was necessary to share their Singpass credentials for scammers to verify their employment status to facilitate loan approval.

After receiving the Singpass ID, password and one-time password (OTP) from the victims, the crooks would use the details to attempt to create bank accounts or register for phone lines.

In some cases, victims were asked to transfer money to the bank accounts provided, as payment for administrative fees or as collateral before the loan could be disbursed. Victims would only find out they had been scammed when the scammers failed to disburse the loan as promised.

To remember:

  • Approved lenders are not allowed to solicit loans through text messages, phone calls or social media platforms.

  • Approved Lenders will not require CPF contribution or Singpass login information to facilitate loan approval.

  • Approved lenders are required to meet the borrower in person at the approved place of business to perform face-to-face physical verification of the borrower’s identity before granting a loan. A loan transaction made entirely online is not permitted. The business address of each Approved Lender is published on the Department of Justice Lenders Registry website at rom.mlaw.gov.sg/information-for-borrowers/list-of-licensed-moneylenders-in-singapore/.

  • Approved Lenders will not require a loan applicant to make any payment (such as GST, “administration fee”, “processing fee” or any other fee) prior to disbursement of a loan or for guarantee the disbursement of a loan.

  • Approved lenders are only allowed to deduct an administrative fee from the loan principal that is paid to the borrower.

How to avoid getting scammed:

  • Ignore these 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 apps.

  • Do not provide your personal information such as NRIC, Singpass ID, Singpass password and OTP to anyone. Stolen credentials can be used to open bank accounts which are then used for illegal transactions such as money laundering.

  • Be sure to update your contact information so that Singpass can reach you quickly in the event of major account changes such as password resets, registration of the Singpass app on a new device, and changes to the phone number. mobile phone or email address registered with Singpass. These alerts sent via SMS or email notifications will allow you to take immediate action to secure your account if necessary.

For Singpass related issues you can contact Singpass Helpdesk on 6335 3533 or [email protected] help.

You can also take these steps immediately if you believe 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 activity.

Stay alert to evolving scams, as malicious actors are constantly changing the way they operate. For more information on scams, visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 1800-722-6688.

Anyone with information about such scams can 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.

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