Be wary of online loan sharks, solon warns

By Leonel Abasola

June 25, 2023, 5:30 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – A legislator on Sunday warned the public not to patronize online lending applications as they do more damage than help people who need financial assistance.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, in an interview with radio station DZBB, said he has been receiving complaints from borrowers who experienced harassment from loan sharks on top of high-interest rates that range from 10 up to 40 percent.

Worst, he added, lending firms were able to access and hack the personal data of borrowers and their contacts.

May report na kung hindi nakakabayad, pinagbabantaan, minsan daw pinapadalhan pa ng korona, at nagagawan din nila ng paraan na malaman ‘yung mga activities ng nangutang. Nakakaalarma at nakakatakot ito (There were reports that those who failed to pay are being threatened. Sometimes, they received wreaths. They were able to monitor the daily activities of those people who could not pay their loans. This is alarming and scary),” Gatchalian said.

He said the public should be cautious before entertaining the idea of getting loans through online apps.

It is highly suspicious if a lending agency could easily lend money, Gatchalian said.

Kaya ang first step dapat kung merong nagpapa-utang na napakadali, ibig sabihin niyan hindi tama ‘yan at huwag nang pumasok (The first step if when a lender could lend easily. It means something is not right. Don’t deal with them),” he said.

He advised the public to check the legitimacy of lenders with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) should they plan to make loans through an online app.

BSP, he added, has a complete list of legitimate lending firms.

The public could also seek the help of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Information and Communications Technology, and National Privacy Commission if they have issues with lending firms.

Gatchalian said he would call for an investigation through the Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies regarding the rising concerns against lending apps and companies. (PNA)