The proliferation of urgent quick loan apps and instant cash lending platforms in Nigeria as a means of raising emergency funds which became occasioned by the dismal economic downturn in the country, joblessness and resulting poverty has changed the entire borrowing dynamics. Faceless loan sharks in Nigeria hosted on Google Play Store and on Apple Store have flooded the digital space with their unethical and fraudulent lending practices against poor and innocent borrowers.
A loan shark is a loan app, digital platform, online or offline lender which offers credit loans at extremely high interest rates, has strict terms of collection upon failure, including sending threatening, shaming and defamatory messages to you and your phone contact list and generally operates outside the law. So in essence loan sharks operate illegally and are thus usually referred to as illegal loan apps and platforms.
List of The Most Notorious Loan Sharks In Nigeria
The most notorious loan sharks in Nigeria that the multitude of borrowers have shared the torture and pains of borrowing loans from them include SokoLoan, Kashkash, LCredit, Ajeloan, BorrowNow, CashLion, Cash Mall, Cashrain, Cash Wallet, CreditHall, 9Credit, iCredit, OKash, GoCash and a lot more others. These are not simply loan sharks, they are also illegal and fake loan apps which have been banned by the local authorities and removed from Google Play Store.
Some of them however still find a way to lure unsuspecting borrowers into their loan trap net and scam them of their hard earned cash. If you want to live long and enjoy a peaceful life, avoid like a plague any lending platform you find in the list below at all cost.
- Cash Mall
- Cash Wallet
- Ease Cash
- Rapid Naira
- Speedy Choice
- 9ja Cash
- Star Loan
- Zuma Cash
8 Key Ways To Identify Loan Sharks And Their Activities
Below are 8 ways to spot a loan shark operating an online lending platform and how you can differentiate them from legitimate and credible loan apps.
1. Banned by financial and regulatory authorities
All loan apps and lending financial institutions must be listed in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) registration or the National Information Technology Development Agency’s (NITDA) register of monitored businesses. Credit is governed by a stringent legal framework; even loans between friends are regulated. This avoids exploitation and facilitates the identification of fraud attempts.
If a loan app is not approved to give credit by the authorized agency, chances are that it is a loan shark. Before pursuing a loan request, it is essential, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the brand, to verify that the company is included in the Nigerian registry of authorised and legit lending agents.
2. Unethical Loan Recovery Methods and practices
Loan sharks have become a major problem in Nigeria owing to their aggressive and unethical loan recovery methods. Their modus operandi is to provide a loan in exchange for access to personal information and data on the phone, such as the contact list as well as credit and financial standing of individuals.
Once the loan is granted, often for a fraction of what was initially requested, mostly within 7 days, representatives of loan sharks demand payment of the money with criminal interest rates via text messages and phone calls, which quickly escalates into an operation of harassment and threats against the borrower and his or her family.
In other instances, the representatives of these applications send photomontage messages to the connections of persons who have sought loans, accusing them of committing crimes, being paedophiles, or engaging in prostitution; they even send threats with photos of severed corpses. All of these behaviours, such as fraud, defamation, and extortion, which are felonies under Nigerian law, are symptomatic of a fake loan app or loan shark.
3. Loan App absent or removed from Google Play Store
One key indicator of identifying a loan shark is to find out if it is hosted at all on Google Play Store or if it was hosted and has been removed for policy violation. Most times Google blacklists and bans any loan app discovered to be fake from its Play Store. Play Protect, the security system on Google Play Store is always on the lookout scanning apps hosted on its network, and detecting if any such application is involving in malicious and fraudulent activities. Once such is detected, such app is removed from the platform.
4. Request to pay Processing, Upfront or Administrative fees
Loan sharks often demand customers to pay an upfront, processing or administrative fees. Most times this is illegal and a swindling tactic to rob unsuspecting customers of their hard earned cash.
Cybercriminals take advantage of the user’s desperation and inexperience to request payment in advance. Fake loan apps that demand an initial deposit may claim that it is a fee to secure the loan or that the fees would be repaid since it will serve as a kind of insurance, but it is a fact that you should be suspicious of such services.
5. Unsecured or absence of Website, Physical Office or Social Media pages
To identify a loan shark is not difficult, simply visit their official website and ensure that the URL is safe. If the web address begins with “HTTPS”, it is a secure website (not necessarily a reliable one). However, if the URL has simply “HTTP” without the final “s,” it is likely a fake loan app since legal organisations must comply with security rules to encrypt user data. In addition, the URL must have a padlock, which indicates that the website has the SSL certificate that certifies it is a secure website.
Also when you check online and you cannot trace any social media page, website or physical office to a loan app, it is most likely to be a loan shark or illegal lending app. Most legitimate online apps have robust websites and social media pages at the minimum. And some have physical office address. This could also be a signal to a phony lender that is hiding its identity in ord er to scam unsuspecting borrowers. Fake loan apps have no social media platforms, no contact telephone numbers, no valid customer service support or email to contact them with.
6. Requests for banking and financial details, passwords
Some loan sharks are notorious for asking for your banking and financial details or sensitive password. Some others request for permission to access your data so they can mine your databse and embarass you when you fail to pay back your loan. Watch it, do not disclose any banking detail to a loan app, it may be a pawn to access your bank account and empty your savings.
7. Constant harassment and threats on customers
Most loan sharks are in the habit of constantly aharassing their customers for loan repayment even when the loan isn’t due. They send threat and defamatory messages to your contact list to blackmail you. These lending applications constantly pressurizes customers to collect loans and then forces them to repay even before repayment due date. And issuing threats along. In some case they transfer money to you unsolicited, if you ever borrowed money from them and force repayment at heavy interest. Please do not grant permission to loan apps to access your database.
8. Gives Loan on a tenure of 7 Days
Fake loan apps are notorious for giving out loan to customers for 7 days tenure instead of minimum of 60 days as stipulated by law and especially by Google Play Store. And the lending applications start torturing you with calls even before the loan expires. Please watch it if a loan offer is giving tenure of 7 days alone, it most likely is a fraudulent app.
How to deal with loan sharks’ threat and Harrassment
Many borrowers have been speaking against the way and manner loan sharks in Nigeria and across the globe threaten and blackmail their customers and talking rudely to them like they don’t matter. Some go as far as referring to their customers and borrowers as ‘crazy’, ‘stupid’, ‘criminal’ and all manner of derogatory statements at the slightest loan default.
To deal with harassment of online loan sharks and fake loan apps, and stop them from accessing your phone contacts and sending messages to your list, do the following:
1. Don’t grant the loan app permission
First of all, you need to understand that not all loan apps deserve to get permission to access your information. Some of them should end up just installing them and never giving them access to your private information such as contacts, messages, etc.
2. Remove Permissions from Settings
If you have granted the app access to your information, that is fine. You can still remove the permissions by going to your phone settings and selecting the app and proceeding to remove the permission. After that, the app would stop having access to your information.
In some cases, these apps might download a copy of your information already into their server (database) and would only take an in-house person to remove them. Endeavor to read the terms of any app you are downloading to know what information they collect from you.
3. Uninstall the App
Another alternative is to remove the app completely from your phone. If you remove an app from your phone it would stop collecting your information if you already gave it permission.
How Loan Sharks in Nigeria Threaten Borrowers
Some customers and borrowers of LCredit, a serial loan shark in Nigeria have accused the digital lending platform of threatening their lives over due and unpaid loans they collected from the app. Find below threatening and suicidal complaints against LCredit by their customers:
Customer Lara Cries Out Against LCredit, Says Loan Shark After Her Life
Good morning please LCredit is after my life ooo they have been tzhreatening to repay their money today and I’ve been trying my best to do so. there money remain just 3k but they’ve increased it to 30160 nw. One of their agent is chatting me up nw that he has reduced d money to 17160 nw that I should repay it before 2pm today else they will be sending messages to all my contacts and they will hack my bvn and other things that is valuable for me.
I could not sleep or do anything again .plz help a soul ooo I don’t know what to do again am scared oooo all my contacts is very important to me plz help me
Anonymus Borrower Says LCredit Wants Him To Commit Suicide
Good evening please LCredit have want me to commit suicide I’m owing them 60,000 and I told them to allow me to be paying small but they said no I must pay it all at once and they have started calling most of my contacts telling them i am a frudster that I’m owing them and that if i did not pay they will come and arrest me .
Customer Sensie Says LCredit Has Been Threatening His Life
Good evening please L credit has been threatening my life I collected a loan and I used it to pay my children school fees since then I have not rested sending all sorts to my contacts I have been paying them weekly.
Customer Cries Out For Help Against Threats From Loan Sharks In Nigeria
Owoeye Hannah who spoke to this reporter on Social Media laments the way and manner loan sharks in Nigeria threaten their customers and talking rudely to them like they don’t matter. Some go as far as refrring to their customers and borrowers as ‘crazy’, ‘stupid’ and all manner of derogatory statements.
Owoeye urges the Nigerian government to regulate the threats from these illegal loan apps and demand that they abide by the rules of the game and be civil in their operations.
She says the threats from loan sharks can be dismaying with some coming even a day or the very day the loan repayment falls due. She wants the loans in Nigeria to give provision and moratorium for repayment even after the due date.
Customer Wants Harrassment And Threats From Loan Sharks In Nigeria To Stop
A customer of an alleged loan shark in Nigeria has condemned the situation where staff of the lending platform talk anyhow to their customers, sending threatening messages to them and their contacts and invading their data privacy.
Finally Owoeye urges loan apps to be ethical and to abide by the local lending rules and Google Playstor policy on loan tenure which mandates digital lenders to not give out any loan less than 60 days tenure. Most of Nigerian digital lending apps give out loan for just 7 days. This is despicable, according to her. And this is mainly practiced by loan sharks.
Read her statement below
Good morning QUICK LOAN ARENA. Please help us look into the short duration loan apps in Nigeria normally give customers when they collect loans and the ensuing embarrassements they melt out to them whenever there is an alleged loan repayment default.
After due date they should at least give customers extra one week to make repayments. Circumstances can arise unexpectedly for borrowers which may make he or she to be unable to pay on due date.
Most of the loan app staffs lack manners, they talk to customers anyhow, sending threatening and derogatory messages to them. They also invade their private contacts, sendingdefamatory messages to all their contacts.
Pls kindly help us use your platform to address these issues. If not addresed, it can make victims, customers to commit suicide if threats from loan apps is too much and unbearable.
According to infosecawareness.in, the following are major threats from loan apps:
Threats From Loan Sharks In Nigeria
The following are the various threats that loan sharks pose to customers and borrowers in Nigeria
- Accessing the contact number and picture stored in mobile.
- Misuse of contact numbers and pictures saved in mobile.
- Excessive interest and penalties.
- Interest deducted before providing the loan.
- Constant harassment and threats.
- Online Harassment.
- Harsh and unethical means of recovery.
5 Safety Measures To Protect Yourself Against Loan Sharks In Nigeria
- Check for lenders contact information like phone number, email address and physical address.
- Verify the online reviews by customers given for the lender.
- Check the professional reviews on trust worthy lenders.
- Make sure the loan app has been properly licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
- Review the app permissions regularly and give access permissions ONLY tor the purpose of the loan applied for.
Outrageous Interests By Loan Sharks In Nigeria, Deception, Tricks
While Nigerians have been quick to embrace digital loan apps, their interests are at sky-high rates, ICIR medium says.
Loan apps listed on the Google Play Store offering short-term loans are mandated by Google policy rules to give borrowers no fewer than 60 days from the date of issue to repay any loan.
The three loan apps owned by Rock Financials claim to give users at least 60 days to repay their loans. In reality, the app users are offered one week to pay back their loans against Google policy rules.
According to its advert on the Play Store, Rock Financials Limited charges a maximum interest rate of 18 per cent.
Yet the company’s claim is outrightly false. Most of the loan apps in Nigeria and these ones charge as much as 40 to 100 per cent as interest. This deception misleads customers who download its loan apps from the Play Store.
On the Google Play Store, a victim, who identified himself as Olatokunbo Folayan, commented on AngelLoan. He took a loan of N26,500 and was asked to pay N37,500 in seven days.
“I won’t advise anyone to (take their loans), Play Store should check all the people they allow on their platform, govt should ban such app,” he said.
The interest rate Folayan was charged on his loan was 42 per cent. If he were charged the 0.05 per cent daily interest rate as advertised on the Play Store, then Folayan would have paid a total of N26,592 instead of the N37,500.
Another user Mohammed Idayat borrowed N30,000 from AngelLoan and paid N44,000, which included interest a week later. He was charged an interest of 47 per cent.
“If a customer is unable to pay early (AngelLoan), they abuse and rain curses as if they are God. Will not advise anyone to go for this loan app if you don’t want to be ruined,” he said.
Some loan apps offer users false information on their interest rates and loan repayment plan, thereby breaching the Google Play Store policy.
The interest rate for an average commercial bank loan in Nigeria is 24 per cent each year. However, loan apps interest rates are between 75 per cent and 395 per cent per year.
A study by Hinderberg says OPay, a loan app in Nigeria, falsely claims to give a maximum interest rate of 24 per cent on every loan but charge borrowers 438 per cent as interest. Late borrowers pay as high as 876 per cent.
Despite, their non-compliance with Nigerian financial laws and Google Play’s Developer Policy, by lying to customers about their repayment tenure and interest rates, they still operate on the Google app.
Please LCredit are after my life. There’s this lady from there threatening me. I can drop her number. I borrowed 17k and was told am to repay #25,580. She’s still disturbing me as we speak. It’s not even like I won’t pay them, but they should try and understand people and give us more time. But they won’t listen and they keep adding late fee to it. Kindly help me out coz I don’t have no money right now. I’m helpless. 09015033842 this is her number.
Customer Olajumoke Says LCredit After Her Life