How do moneylenders get maids' numbers?

I would like to share what my foreign domestic worker (FDW) has been experiencing the past few months with regard to shady moneylenders.

She has been receiving endless streams of SMSes daily from many different numbers purporting to lend money for a certain number of months with interest. I am thankful that she is mature and wise enough not to cave in to the endless bombardment. But what of the young, impressionableFDWs, and those who have taken out huge loans to come here for work? Many, seeing these daily advertisements of fast cash, would be tempted.

But where do these Joes and Davids, as these moneylenders call themselves, get the mobile numbers of these FDWs in the first place?

Are the telcos selling information when FDWs sign up for a mobile plan? Do shops that sell SIM cards collect information and sell it to a third party?

These SMS advertisements must be targeted specifically at those who hold work permits, as I have never once received them.

Perhaps the authorities should look into how the information collected during the sale of mobile phones and SIM cards is used.

Lynn Chua Li-Ming (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2018, with the headline 'How do moneylenders get maids' numbers?'. Print Edition | Subscribe