For the past few weeks, I’ve been on the hunt for a financing company that offers small collateral-free loans. It was meant for a small project I’ve been brewing for some time now.
Having heard of the countless stories of how others have become victims of scams and swindlers offering such small loans, I wasn’t so surprised that a Google search would be overwhelming.
All of the ads and websites seemed convincing. But only the wise and those with common sense would go for the close button and visit a well established bank or other finance companies that have a real brick and mortar office instead.
I made a stupid mistake of dialling up the supposed office number of such a micro-finance firm in Dasmarinas City. Instead of a person answering the phone, all I got was a fax tone. Okay, so maybe they forgot to clarify on their sign board that the phone number listed was a fax only line.
Then, shortly after a few minutes of dialling that number, I got a text message from someone who introduced himself as Arth.
Hi, I’m Arth! We’re offering cash loan with 1.39% interest monthly. 4days processing only! Reply here or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Again, the message would appeal to most except for the prudent and wise. My first clue that there’s something suspicious about the message and the supposed office number I dialled before was that my mobile number is just a week old because I just signed up for a postpaid plan from Globe.
No one except my family, close friends and schoolmates know of my new number. So how can this ‘Arth’ get a hold of my number and know that I was seeking out a loan?
It’s probably because the shady micro-finance company’s advertised number that I called a while ago was just a way to collect phone numbers of loan seekers which in turn would be potential victims to scam and fraud. Getting a fax tone may convince others that the business is legit. It is a fax tone anyways. But hold on.
Why offer and discuss a loan over SMS? Why use a free email account? All of these are signs that it is best that the message be ignored and deleted outright.
And to make sure that I let those swindlers know that I am not the kind to mess around with; I replied with the following message:
Where is your office located? I will not discuss this via sms
And that was the last I heard from that ‘Arth’ nor that number. Being alert, mindful, holding back impulses plus using common sense can save one from a world of troubles. And do lookout for that number and email address, it probably belongs to a swindler or a scam syndicate.