SINGAPORE (The Straits Times / ANN): People have been cheated by more than S $ 200,000 by a new type of loan scam in the first four months of this year, with at least 20 police reports.
Police issued a notice Wednesday, May 26, warning the public.
The scam begins with victims receiving unsolicited text messages or encountering websites or advertisements offering loans.
When victims respond, they are redirected to a WhatsApp chat, during which the crooks ask for their personal details to “process” the loan application.
Scammers then send bogus letters or emails, believed to be from banks or government agencies such as state courts or the Monetary Authority of Singapore, to obtain payment for the processing or transfer fee.
“These letters could indicate that processing fees or payment of tax would be required under specific regulations before the loan could be disbursed,” police said.
“The victims only realized that they had been scammed when they had not received the loan.”
Police last month said more than $ 3.9 million was lost in the first four months of the year due to a scam in which crooks posed as High Court officials Singapore or Interpol.
In recent months, police have also warned of an SMS scam advertising fake jobs in which people receive a text saying their bank accounts have been suspended.
Singapore’s overall crime rate hit its highest level in over 10 years last year, with a record number of reported scams increasing 65% from 2019. With more internet traffic, many of them were e-commerce scams.
Police reminded the public on Wednesday that approved lenders are not allowed to approach potential borrowers via text messages, phone calls or social media platforms.
A fully online loan transaction is also not allowed and approved lenders must meet borrowers at the approved place of business to verify their identity before granting loans.
Administrative fees will also not be charged to the borrower before the loan is granted, let alone in payment to a government agency. Rather, these fees should be deducted from the loan principal.
People are advised to ignore or block and report these messages. They should not provide anyone with personal information such as their NRIC, SingPass or bank details. – The Straits Times / Asia News Network