Don't fall for misleading advertisements

The authorities are aware that unlicensed moneylending (UML) syndicates have resorted to masquerading as licensed moneylenders (LMLs) to evade detection and increase their customer base.

Better known as loan sharks, these syndicates have unlawfully used websites, printed flyers and online media to advertise as registered companies.

A joint statement from the Singapore Police Force and Registry of Moneylenders said many borrowers have been misled into borrowing from loan sharks. "In their advertisements, these UML syndicates include fictitious registration codes or legitimate business names of LMLs without their knowledge or approval," it said.

It advised people not to reply to messages advertising loan shark services and to report these numbers to the police. Potential borrowers should verify that a moneylender is licensed by checking the list provided by the Registry on the Ministry of Law website.

On the website, the Registry warns against taking loans from moneylenders who use abusive language or a threatening manner, ask for SingPass user IDs or passwords, or retain personal identification documents.

Tan Tam Mei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 20, 2017, with the headline 'Don't fall for misleading advertisements'. Print Edition | Subscribe