Police warn of loan scam involving fake letters or emails from banks and government agencies

SINGAPORE: Police observed a new variant of loan scams that involved bogus letters or emails from banks or government agencies, demanding that victims pay administrative fees before receiving their loan.

At least 20 reports were received between January and April this year, with losses amounting to more than S $ 200,000, authorities said in a press release on Wednesday (May 26th).

In these cases, victims would receive unsolicited text messages or come across websites or advertisements offering loans.

READ: Police warn of new fake jobs ad scam for e-commerce platforms

Victims who responded with the intention of taking out a loan would be redirected to WhatsApp to communicate their loan request. The fraudsters would then request the personal data of the victims so that the loan application could be processed.

Subsequently, the crooks informed the victims that the loan had been approved before asking them to make payments of varying amounts as collateral, processing or transfer fees.

Police say crooks are presenting bogus letters or emails that they believe came from banks or government agencies, such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore or state courts, which could indicate that payments were required. under specific regulations before the loan can be disbursed.

The victims would not realize they had been scammed until they did not receive the loan, police added.

READ: ‘I started to believe them’: How a foreign student was the victim of a bogus official scam in China

Authorities have reminded the public that approved lenders are not allowed to apply for loans through text messages, phone calls or social media platforms.

These lenders are also required to meet the borrower in person at the approved place of business to conduct a physical in-person identity verification before granting a loan. Loan transactions cannot be done entirely online.

Approved lenders will also not require an applicant to make payments for the secure disbursement of the loan, including GST, “administration fees” and “processing fees”. Processing fees or tax payments to a government agency are also not required.

The business address of each approved lender is published on the Department of Justice website.

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