10 fall prey to new loan shark SMS scam

SINGAPORE - At least 10 people fell prey to a new SMS scam, which sends text messages to potential victims from an unknown mobile number, threatening to harass them if they did not repay their "loans" from illegal moneylenders.

Fearing for their safety, these victims transferred a total of about $18,000 to bank account numbers provided by the culprits, said the police in a crime alert on Thursday.

This after the culprits threatened to damage the victims' homes by splashing paint or setting fire, or locking the gates, if the repayments were not made.

The messages were sent to victims even though a majority of them had no dealings with loan sharks.

There have been more than 180 reports of such cases over the past one month, with victims making reports to the police from early March.

The Straits Times understands that those behind the scam had the identification numbers, full names and residential addresses of a few victims, which could have been retrieved from lucky draw entries or relatives who had dealings with loan sharks.

The police said investigations are ongoing and advised members of the public not to reveal personal particulars to unknown individuals and to keep SingPass log-in details confidential.

Members of the public are also advised not to give in to or contact unknown senders with unsolicited demands for loan repayments.

maryamm@sph.com.sg


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