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  • I-Witness

Unlicensed moneylending (UML) is when an unlicensed individual, often called an ‘Ah Long’ or loanshark, lends money to another individual. UML is dangerous due to the unregulated harassment methods these loansharks often use to chase debts. Their methods often harm and pollute neighbourhood communities and loansharks may even resort to violence to get what they want.

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Stay away from loansharks and not work with or assist them in any way. 

Get help before it’s too late:

a)       Credit Counselling Singapore: 6225-5227 (www.ccs.org.sg)

b)      National Council on Problem Gambling: 1800-6-668-668 (www.ncpg.org.sg)

c)       ComCare: 1800-222-0000 (www.msf.gov.sg/comcare)

 

Crime Prevention Tips for UML

UML is a threat to the community and the Police is clamping down to eliminate this problem. However, community involvement is an important part of the strategy against UML. Here are some measures you can adopt to help reduce the problem.

Good neighbourliness goes a long way – report all loansharking activities and suspicious individuals in your neighbourhood. Detailed descriptions will help us solve the case much faster. The public can call the Police at ‘999’ or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in loansharking activities.

Join the Citizens on Patrol – these are neighbourhood community groups that help patrol and watch out for each other.

For Employers of Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs)

You can protect your FDW from falling prey to unscrupulous loansharks or UMLs by doing the following:

a)       Instruct your FDW to stay away from loansharks and not to assist them in any manner.

b)      Warn your FDW of the severe consequences if they are caught assisting the loansharks in illegal activities. Their work passes will also be revoked.

c)       Members of the public may also call the National Crime Prevention Council’s X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if you suspect your FDW to be involved in any UML activities.

Crime Prevention Tips for Loan Scam

The Police would also like to caution the public against loan scams, which have possible links to UML.

Members of the public should take note of the following:

a)       A licensed moneylender is not allowed to make any cold calls or send any unsolicited text messages to members of the public.

b)      The licensed moneylender is obliged under law to verify the identity and particulars of the borrower at its approved place of business. The licensed moneylender cannot approve or grant a loan to a borrower remotely. The address of each licensed moneylending office is published on the list of licensed moneylenders on the Ministry of Law’s Registry of Moneylenders website at https://rom.mlaw.gov.sg/information-for-borrowers/list-of-licensed-moneylenders-in-singapore/.

c)       A licensed moneylender will not ask a loan applicant to make any payment before the disbursement of the loan, or to make any payment to secure the disbursement of the loan. This includes GST, “admin fee”, “processing fee”, or any other 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. 

Members of the public are advised to take the following precautions with regard to such scams:

a)       Ignore such advertisements. Do not reply to these messages. Instead, block or report the number as spam on WhatsApp or through third party applications.

b)      Do not give out your personal information such as NRIC, SingPass or bank account details to anyone.

If you wish to provide any information related to such scams, please call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. If you receive a cold call or unsolicited text message asking if you would like to take up a loan, call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 to verify. Visit www.scamalert.sg to find out more about loan scams.

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