Loan sharks have a bad reputation in Singapore, and for a good reason. Although they don’t always look as menacing as those famously portrayed in local movies like Money No Enough, services from loan sharks are best not to be sought. However, if you happen to have been in urgent need of fast cash loans and have borrowed from loan sharks, don’t panic.
The five methods below will guide you on how to solve loan shark problems in Singapore.
1. Check if they are registered with the Registry of Moneylenders as moneylenders
Other than friends or family, only borrow money from legal money lenders or banks. This is why you should immediately confirm if your creditors are registered with the Registry of Moneylenders in Singapore. If they’re not, then they’re unlicensed money lenders, also known as loan sharks.
For the full list of licensed money lenders, refer to this page. This list is updated regularly by the Registry of Moneylenders and it contains businesses whose money lending license has been suspended. However, as of Sep 2022, there are no suspended licensed money lenders.
There are currently many illegal money lenders who are pretending to be legal money lenders. Even if you find out that your creditor is in fact registered, familiarise yourself with what they are allowed and not allowed to do. The Registry of Moneylenders has a handy FAQ section on its website that you can refer to if you need information in a pinch.
Ways to know you’re dealing with a licensed money lender
Firstly, legal money lenders are strictly not allowed to canvas loans through any form of texting, phone calls, or social media platforms like Facebook.
Secondly, never trust a loan process that is completed purely online because this is illegal as well. One telltale sign of a legitimate money lender is that they require you to head down to their approved place of business in person.
This lets them verify your identity physically before approving your loan application and disbursing the funds.
Furthermore, legal money lenders are not allowed to harass, threaten, or intimidate you for repayment, according to the Protection From Harassment Act. They are also not allowed to stalk or injure you, nor vandalise or seize your assets. The latter even requires the creditor to obtain a Writ of Seizure and Sale (WSS) as part of a civil court case.
2. Report the loan sharks to the authorities
Should you be facing intimidation tactics from loan sharks, do not panic and there’s no need to feel powerless. Contact the police immediately even if you are unsure if your creditors have performed any illegal acts. If you’re genuinely feeling harassed, trust your instincts. The police will then be able to answer your questions and inform you of what else you need to do.
Another hotline you can call is the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664. Despite the amusing name, it is a legitimate hotline run by the Singapore Police Force. If you have detailed descriptions regarding how you have been harassed by loan sharks, they’ll go a long way in solving your case.
The sooner you contact the authorities about this, the sooner the legal process and required recordings can begin. If you delay contacting the police, some evidence may be lost or even compromised, which can affect legal proceedings down the line.
3. Stop paying the loan sharks
A simple solution would be to just stop paying the loan sharks. Remember, loan sharks aim to keep you trapped in debt by attaching ludicrous interest rates to your principal loan amount. There’s no need to be a victim of this.
However, because they are experts at intimidation through threats and harassment, not paying them can be a difficult challenge. Other than cruder means of harassment like spraying paint around your corridor, they may also resort to humiliation techniques like insulting you or your family. Don’t give in. What’s more, they might harass your neighbours as well.
Additionally, don’t make the mistake of continuing to pay loan sharks when you’ve already filed a police report. You have to remember that what they are doing is illegal, and you have the law on your side to not give in and fork out a single cent to them.
4. Change your personal information
A popular tactic that loan sharks employ to make people pay back their fast cash loans is capitalising on your personal information like phone number, home address, Singpass login details, and office address.
For instance, they may make multiple calls to your mobile phone while you are at work, or even threaten to come to your workplace to make you feel embarrassed and thus, pressure you into repaying the loan.
If they have your Singpass login details, they may even wreak havoc by signing legal documents or transferring certain assets without you knowing. Even with two-factor authentication in place, it’s still possible for them to do this.
Hence, it is paramount that you immediately change as much personal information as you can once you know they’ve been compromised. Don’t forget to make a police report too.
5. Get help from the community and social service agencies
Remember that you are never alone. As mentioned above, turning to the police is the first thing you should do. You can seek help from your friends and family during this period as well.
Additionally, your neighbours can assist you. Ask them to inform you immediately and call the police should there be any suspicious activity near your house. Although part of them doing this is to keep their homes safe, you’ll also need to thank them for lending you a hand.
Many social service agencies can help you recover from serious debt problems by providing general credit management information, credit counselling, and where possible, negotiation. These social service agencies have had experience working with clients who are in your situation, so they’re well-equipped to help you during this time.
Here is a list of helplines that you can reach out to if you are wondering how to solve loan shark problems in Singapore:
- Police Emergency Hotline – 999
- X-Ah Long Hotline – 1800-924-5664
- Credit Counselling Singapore – 6225-5227
- ComCare – 1800-222-0000
- Adullam Life Counselling – 6659 7844 / 9423 8832
- Arise2Care Community Services – 6909 0628
- Blessed Grace Social Services – 8428 6377
- One Hope Centre – 6547 1011
Rather than working with loan sharks, the legal, safer, and fairer alternatives are legal money lenders or banks. If you need cash, find out more about 24-hours money lenders in Singapore now.
One reputable and experienced licensed money lender you can consider is MM Credit. We were established in Singapore in 2013 and have been part of the Registry of Moneylenders ever since. Applying for a loan with us is easy. Simply fill in the Online Loan Form on our homepage and our loan officers will get back to you right away with a personalised quote.