Unlicensed Moneylending During These Trying Times

It is clear that with one of the harshest economic situations of late due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Circuit Breaker Measures, some of our loved ones and those we know would inevitably resort to unlicensed moneylenders to supplement their earnings. From the onset, according to the Police Advisory, “Stay away from loansharks and not work with or assist them in any way.” (online ). However, should you face the unfortunate circumstance of experiencing unlicensed moneylenders’ activities, these guidelines should enable you to get a firmer grip on what you should and should not do.

Should you be involved in any way with unlicensed moneylenders, your first option should be to inform the police on the matter. Reporting to the police by calling the Police at ‘999’ or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in loansharking activities, with detailed reporting would enable the authorities to solve cases quicker and better the protect the community. This would also pertain to your own personal information should, per se, your NRIC number be used without your permission. In addition, this measure should also be taken should the borrower be a former member of your household but no longer stays at the house. In addition, should you continued to be harassed by the actions of the borrower and/or the loansharks, you could take up an application under the Protection from Harassment Act (“POHA”) for a protection order. Should you need more information on this application and/or any of the above, feel free to contact our litigation experts at 6240 6901 or ask@arlc.com.sg to book an appointment.

Apart from reporting to the Police, the other measure is to be vigilant and aware of your household’s activities and those of your vulnerable close ones. For instance, one of the new tactics that have been used by these loansharks, apart from the usual vandalism and harassment, is to harass victims by sending multiple paid food orders to them. Should such event happen to you, the first step is to verify if the order is genuinely from members of your household. If the order is not, you should decline to pay for the order and as above report the incident to the Police or the Ah Long Hotline. If you suspect that one of your loved ones be involved with unlicensed moneylending, you can advise them to seek counselling from professionals, ask for financial assistance from family members, friends and relatives, and recommend them to seek help from Credit Counselling Singapore by visiting their website (www.ccs.org.sg) or calling 1800-225-5227.

Remember, there are multiple criminal offences that are connected with dealing with unlicensed moneylending. This includes giving false information to the unlicensed moneylenders. Hence, even in this downturn of this country’s economy, you should not deal with them and should you face harassment from them, you should inform the Police or the Ah Long Hotline. You should also stay vigilant on your household’s activities, so that you would not fall prey to one of their newest tactics of sending unpaid food deliveries to your household. You would also be able to keep a watch for you family members and ensure that they get the help needed should the need arise.

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