Raising Awareness On Moneylending Scam

I want to create some awareness to the public of the current trend the Ah Longs are trying to cheat people out there, especially during this COVID period, where financial is at stake. I am lucky that I have many moral support from family members and friends as I have been panicking since Day 1 because all the police could advised victims are to install cctv at our door, change our mobile number and keep a lookout if our personal information are being disclosed on social media platforms. It is depressing but I have to understand them too as there are surely too many Ah Longs in Singapore.
It happened to me in February when I was looking for a reputable licenced moneylender for a loan (as banks are quite difficult to get these days regardless your financial health). I looked through MinLaw web and chanced upon a list of Licenced Moneylenders registered with the authorities. Took me a while to choose from the list as I have to read reviews and such because I don't really understand how it works. Then I chanced upon one – Phillips Credit Pte Ltd, which has great reviews. 
So I started to communicate with them and midway, while getting some documents to support my application, they kept asking for my Singpass password. This should triggered me to stop but after I kept educating them that it's a crime, they relent. I was in denial because I kept thinking that it's licenced so this should be legit. I was asking for $1.5K back then and they couldn't do so citing that I am a first time customer so to gain trust, I need to do a trial loan of $400 and repayment with interest – $600. Right after it will automatically be my initial $1.5K loan on monthly repayment. After settling the first trial loan, excuses came in and I was lured into 2nd trial loan. After comnsulting this to a dear friend who is working with IPTO, I was advised to return back principle amount and report this 'licenced moneylender', which I did.
Then, comes the horror.
Early this April, I received a message from "SG Cash Loan" and it list down their offers and such. I did not block but kept asking several questions pertaining to their loans for future reference if they are under the list of Licenced Moneylender. However, during one of the phone conversation, the "Loan Officer" named Lucas Yeoh, mentioned Phillips Credit. I already sensed something fishy but did not go any further to apply or agree with the loan offered. 
However, on 3 April, a few sum of money was being transferred to my account – $750 without my consent or knowledge. I told this Lucas that I did not agree to any loan offer or apply any loan. Demanded him to furnish me with the account details and I will refund him immediately. When he refused, I told him that I will call the bank to return to sender and that's the threats started. 
He knew where I stay, where I work etc. If I want to return it back to him, I have to return $1000 including the interest even if the funds were in my account for barely 3hrs. Never had encountered with Ah Long before, I broke down and tried to calm myself as I have history of depression. So I immediately rushed to make a police report and then to the bank, hoping to close my account. 
Unfortunately, I could not close the bank neither can I get the bank to return back to sender the money transferred because if the sender declined to have the money refunded. And as for my bank account, I could not close it because I had a few donations made via my debit card on monthly basis. It has to be cleared before I could do so. And I could not get in touch with the organization to cancel my donation as most of them are closed during this COVID period. Also as this is my salary crediting account, I could not close it too as I won't be able to make it for the upcoming salary payment. So many restrictions for me.
Because of the fear that I have with this Lucas, I just continue to pay $200 every 6 days when he asked to make the payment for interest only. I had to play along while waiting for my IO to get back to me. A few days later, Lucas made several transfers to my account without my consent again. This time round it's not for my loan. He treated me as a money mule. He then would provide the account no. and I have to transfer it back. Again I made another police report and the police just advised me the same – change my number, close account, block Ah Long's number and install cctv – which i did for all except to change my number because I am the point of contact during the COVID period for work. It is not feasible yet.
Then several more incoming funds came in and I transferred it out back again to the given account. Comes the 3rd week, when I realized my account was being hold by SPF and my salary was affected – my fears finally came true. And I could not wait any longer, I called the IO in charge of this case. He advised that I should just return the priniciple amount of $750 as my case is classified as FORCED LOAN and with intention to harm. 
So as of today, I have returned $800 ($200 x 4) and blocked all numbers Lucas used. So now that he has realized that I have the courage finally to block him off, the war has just began. I need to prepare myself mentally and physically because I know they won't stop at just me. They will harassed my neighbours which I am willing to fight for. 
I thought the scam they did with Grab Food was horrible, this is by far the worse. They threaten to email my workplace and made me suffer but thankfully, I have notified my RO, my boss, my HR and all necessary departments. I am glad they support me but I cannot imagine how many defenceless individuals out there who are tricked, scammed by these irresponsible scammers who (allegedly) disguised as LICENCED MONEYLENDERS when they are actually the hideous Ah Longs.
I have to give my thanks and appreciation to the legit licenced moneylenders like Lending Bee for the insightful explanation of how Licenced Moneylenders should work. Bottom line, we need to go to their office physically and funds will be disbursed on the spot in cash, with receipt and legit paperworks. 
I hope the authotrities would step to control these licenced moneylenders even further before more citizens are being harmed as we might go into recession this year. Because many will fall as victims like me, thinking they are licenced moneylenders. Or some, never connected to Ah Longs before but still being victims as being listed as "guarantors" without their knowledge. 
But one thing I can learn from this episode is that, Ah Longs usually used hard and gangster approach in the way they talk or send messages. Bottom line, they are always 'RIGHT'. Police need to protect these people. And to those who engage Ah Longs knowingly, they better STOP. Otherwise they will thrive even further.
Thanks with warmest regards,
Cat Lady

But one thing I can learn from this episode is that, Ah Longs usually used hard and gangster approach in the way they talk or send messages that in no way, a talk could knock sense into them. Bottom line, they are always 'RIGHT'.

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