Dealing with a loan shark, also called “Ah Long”, can be a complete nightmare, especially if you don’t know how to run away from loan shark in Singapore.
Loan sharks are illegal or unlicensed money lenders, who market themselves as licensed money lenders to deceive innocent Singaporeans, permanent residents or foreigners.
They charge exorbitant interest rates and fees and will threaten or harass you if you fail to pay your debt. They might stalk you, physically abuse you, or compel you to take another loan to pay off your debt.
Once they get you hooked on their web of manipulation and harassment, it may look impossible to break free.
Maybe you desperately needed funds, and unknowingly or knowingly fell into the hands of an “Ah Long”.
But don’t worry, in this article, we will tell you how to run away from loan shark in Singapore. Keep reading to find out.
How To Know If You Are Dealing With A Loan Shark
Here are eight ways to find out if you’re dealing with a loan shark or licensed money lender in Singapore.
1. They Are Not On The List Of Licensed Money Lenders
To protect its citizens and permanent residents, the Ministry of Law compiled a list. This list of licensed money lenders in Singapore is regularly updated and shows more than 150 money lenders.
If a money lender is not on the list above, they are likely a loan shark.
2. They Are Willing To Lend You More Than The Maximum Amount
“Ah Longs” are willing to borrow you more than the maximum amount. They may not even look at your payslip or ensure you have a stable job because they know they can always harass you to repay the loan.
There is a legal cap on the amount you can borrow for unsecured loans in Singapore. The table below summarises it.
|Borrower’s Annual Income||Singaporeans Or Permanent Residents||Foreigners Residing In Singapore|
|Less than $10,000||$3,000||$500|
|At least $10,000 to less than $20,000||$3,000||$3,000|
|At least $20,000||Up to 6x borrower’s monthly income||Up to 6x borrower’s monthly income|
3. They Use Illegal Means Of Advertising
Licensed money lenders are not permitted to call you, send a text, or email you asking you to take a loan. If you received a call, text on WhatsApp or email, the person is definitely an “Ah Long”.
Legal money lenders can only advertise:
- On business and consumer directories
- Their websites
- Their business premises (stickers on windows, walls)
4. They Don’t Have A Place Of Business
A licensed money lender must have a place of business, where it can meet you and physically verify you before they approve your loan. This address is also included in the list of licensed money lenders.
If a money lender is willing to approve your loan online, or evasive about their place of business, it is likely a loan shark in Singapore.
5. They Charge Exorbitant Interest Rates
The interest rate from borrowing from a money lender is regulated and capped at up to 4% maximum interest per month on the loan principal, and 4% for late payment fees.
If a money lender is charging above this, it is a loan shark.
6. They May Charge Upfront Admin Fees
Money lenders are not permitted to charge upfront administration fees. Administration fees are capped at 10% of the loan amount and should be deducted when the loan is granted.
If a money lender is asking you to pay upfront fees, it is likely an “Ah Long”.
7. They Don’t Provide Or Loan Contract Or Give An Incomplete One
If a money lender doesn’t provide you with a loan contract or gives you an incomplete contract to sign, they are likely a loan shark. Ensure you read the loan contract thoroughly before signing.
8. They Will Threaten And Harass You
If you’re experiencing harassment from a money lender, it is likely a loan shark as money lenders are not permitted to use abusive language or harass you.
Although some may experience licensed money lender harassment from errant money lenders.
What Happens When You Don’t Pay A Loan Shark
When you don’t pay loan sharks, they may first charge you high late payment interest of more than the maximum amount. Then, they can resort to abusive language, threats or harassment.
In some extreme cases, they can stalk you, threaten to kidnap you or your family members, report to your employer, or seize your personal property by force.
How To Deal With Loan Shark Harassment In Singapore
Contrary to popular opinion, how to fight loan shark harassment is really simple. You just have to do what is required.
The following are how to solve loan shark problems in Singapore.
Report To The Authorities
If a loan shark is harassing you, you can report it to the police or the National Crime Council’s X Ah-Long hotline. You can also submit a complaint with the Registry of Moneylenders if you are experiencing licensed money lender harassment.
Loan shark helpline Singapore includes:
- X Ah-Long: 1800-924-5664
- Police hotline: 1800-255-000 or 999
- Registry of Moneylenders: 1800-2255-529
These authorities will take your complaint seriously, and see to the end of the matter.
Stop All Payments To The Loan Shark
If you find out the money lender is a loan shark after receiving the loan, and you have reported it to the relevant authorities, stop all payments to the loan shark.
Don’t Give In To Their Abuse And Harassment
We know it can be scary to be in an abusive situation, but do not yield to the loan shark’s threats.
Doing so only makes loan sharks come at you all the more. Do not allow loan sharks to pressure you into using your ATM card or other personal details, as you can get in legal trouble for assisting a loan shark.
Change Any Compromised Personal Information
If you feel any sensitive personal information has been compromised, you can quickly change it. This could be account log-ins or others.
You can also move temporarily from your home address if the loan sharks go there to harass you.
Punishment For Loan Sharks In Singapore
Loan sharks are not above the law, and their actions are punishable before the authorities.
First-time offenders found to have committed any act of harassment, can be charged with the following:
- Up to five years’ jail term
- Three to six strokes of the cane
- Fine between $5,000 and $50,000
People also ask if it is an offence to borrow from a loan shark, and the answer is yes because you can get in legal trouble for assisting a loan shark in any manner.
You can be charged with the following as a first-time offender for assisting loan sharks.
- Up to five years’ jail term
- Three to six strokes of can
- Fine between $5,000 and $50,000
Where To Get Help
Other than the relevant authorities listed above, you can also get help from the following social services for loan shark harassment.
- MSF ComCare (1800-222-0000)
- Credit Counselling Singapore (6225-5227)
- Arise2Care Community Services (6909-0628)
- Association of Muslim Professionals (6416-3960)
- Blessed Grace Social Services (8428-6377)
- Adullam Life Counselling (6659-7844)
- Silver Lining Community Services (6749-0400)
- One Hope Centre (6547-1011)
Don’t Fall Victim To Loan Sharks
Now you know how to run away from loan shark Singapore, Lending Bee, a licensed money lender in Singapore, offers quick loans at low interest rates to Singaporeans, permanent residents and foreigners.
We are one of the most reliable licensed money lenders in Singapore, offering some of the most affordable interest rates and no hidden fees.
About Ashley Sim
Calling herself a “professional multi-tasker”, Ashley worked as a relationship manager in a bank for five years. She left her job just before the pandemic happened and became a freelance writer for about a year. Now, she’s making the most of her love for writing and knowledge of the banking and financial industry in her role as a content marketing lead. She hopes to help people make better financial decisions through her content and campaigns.