Loan shark harassment scams in Singapore

A few days ago, Mediacorp Channel 8 reported that a number of Singaporeans were tricked by con artists into paying ten of thousands dollars. Apparently the scammers sent text messages to the victims and claimed that they owed loan sharks a sum of money and if they don’t pay up, they threatened to harass them.
Several of the victims were gullible enough to fall prey into their tricks even though they did not owed loan sharks any debts. This is because they thought that their identification cards might have been manipulated and used by strangers or tenants to borrow money from loan sharks illegally. Three days later, the culprits were caught by the police and hauled to the court.

SG Wealth Builder

Greed and Fear
This is not the first case of Singaporeans losing their hard-earned monies to con artists, who usually play on our greed and fear. One of the tactics most commonly used is to focus on many Singaporeans’ desire to become rich quick in Singapore. Not too long ago, many greedy Singaporeans lost several millions after investing in dubious gold buy-back schemes. The root cause for their investment losses is mainly because of their lack of understanding of gold. They were lured by promise of high returns from the gold buy-back schemes. Subsequently, many of them lost their investments after the scammers skipped town and absconded with their investments.

And then there were the kidnap phone scams. In recent years, despite much police education efforts, there were still many of such successful cheating cases. To add insult to injury, the victims were from all walks of life including professionals, so do not assume that only housewives or the seniors are prone to being cheated.

What should you do?
Members of the public who believe that they receive kidnap phone scams or loan shark harassment scams should remain calm and call the police immediately. Do not bank transfer or remit any money.

In addition, do not to reveal personal particulars, such as NRIC number, residential address and contact details to unknown individuals; keep SingPass login details confidential; not give in to unknown and unsolicited demands for loan repayments; and not to contact the SMS sender.

As for investment scams prevention, one really needs to do research and not be lured by promise of high returns. Remember, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. There are too many people out there interested in cheating your money, so it pays to be cynical and not invest in get-rich-quick investments.

Magically yours,

SG Wealth Builder

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