SINGAPORE: Beware of unlicensed moneylending syndicates advertising on WhatsApp groups, the police warned on Friday (Mar 23).
In a news release, the police said they had observed a recent trend of moneylending advertisements disseminated via the WhatsApp messaging platform.
Those affected are typically added randomly into a WhatsApp group chat by an overseas mobile phone number advertising moneylending services in Singapore.
"Such advertisements are likely to be from unlicensed moneylending syndicates which have resorted to advertising their unlawful activities via messaging platforms," the police said.
The authorities are advising individuals who receive such messages not to reply, and to block and report the number as spam through WhatsApp.
Members of the public can also provide information confidentially via the I-Witness portal or call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or the National Crime Prevention Council’s X Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664.
Police said that authorities' "relentless enforcement efforts" have driven loansharks to shift to non-confrontational and non-damaging tactics to harass borrowers and solicit new debtors. These tactics include using electronic means such as SMSes, phone messaging applications and social media platforms, they explained.
"The police will continue to work closely with our stakeholders and relevant authorities such as the Infocomm Media Development Authority to deter such activities," they added.