It’s not news that Nigeria’s economy is battered. All around us businesses are collapsing, industries are shutting down and the unemployment rate in the country keeps increasing. As a result, many Nigerians are finding it hard to cater to their immediate needs, leading some to seek cheap credit from loan apps. Sadly, many Nigerians have fallen prey to borrowing money from unscrupulous loan apps, digital platforms, and lending organizations that end up harassing them, their families, and their contacts list when they default (for some, even before the loan is due). In this article, we’ll provide tips to stop loan shark harassment in Nigeria.
How to stop loan shark harassment in Nigeria would be discussed below:
What are Loan Sharks and How Do They Operate?
Loan sharks are loan apps, digital platforms, and lending organizations that put a facade in offering urgent online cash to people without the need for collateral and documentation. However, borrowers of these unscrupulous loan firms may not know beforehand of their extremely high-interest rates, the unethical methods of recovering the loans, and the various harassment strategies directed at their borrowers.
There are various strategies these loan sharks use to harass those who assess emergency funds from their platforms. Borrowers may even begin receiving threats of impending defamation messages from loan sharks even before their loan is due. In the situation where the borrower defaults, these loan sharks defy the basic canons of lending by harassing their customers by sending them blackmail, defamatory messages, and threats. In addition to texts sent to borrowers, the staff of these loan apps, digital platforms, and lending organizations will also call their defaulting customers, usually speaking to them in a dehumanizing manner.
Aside from harassing the borrower by sending them threats and defamatory messages, loan sharks go further by compromising the data privacy of their customers by also sending shameful and defamatory messages to the family members and contact list of the borrowers. In most messages sent to family members and contacts lists of the borrowers, the borrowers are usually referred to as ‘criminals’. More so, these loan sharks go ahead to release the personal details and photographs of their customers who default on social media.
Here are some ways to identify loan shark harassment in Nigeria:
- Loan sharks would want to access the contacts list and the pictures saved on the mobile phones of the borrowers.
- Loan sharks are known to harass their defaulting customers on social media and other online mediums.
- Loan sharks compromise the privacy of their customers (borrowers) by misusing the contact numbers and pictures saved on their mobile phones.
- Loan sharks would send defamatory and threatening messages to the family members and friends of borrowers by invading customers’ data privacy.
- Another tell-tale sign of loan sharks is their extremely high-interest rate and harsh penalties.
- Unethical and strict methods of loan recovery.
- Loan sharks would usually deduct the processing and/or security deposit before loan processing.
- The staff of loan apps are fond of talking to customers that default in a dehumanizing manner.
Guidelines to Follow to Protect Yourself from Falling Prey to Loan Sharks
There are some ways you can differentiate reputable loan apps from the unscrupulous loan sharks that harass and swindle Nigerian citizens. In this section of this article, we’ll be providing some actionable tips to use to protect yourself or fight against loan sharks in Nigeria.
Below are some helpful tips to put in mind when you come across a lending app:
- To ensure the legitimacy of a lending app, check for important information like their phone number, email address, and the location of their brick-and-mortar address.
- Check and verify the reviews that past customers of the loan app have written on their website and/or social media page, as well as the online reviews on the Google Play Store and the App Store.
- Look out for professional reviews made about the lending app to get a genuine assessment of their services.
- Confirm that the lending app is licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. So, look out for CBN’s certification of such lending apps.
- Always review the permissions that any loan app asks for so you only allow those permissions that the loan you apply for demands.
How to Stop Loan Shark Harassment in Nigeria
The best way to avoid experiencing any sort of loan shark harassment is not to borrow money from any loan shark. Instead, ask your family members or friends, or use reputable loan apps. Earlier in this article, we provided tips on how to differentiate a loan shark from a reputable loan app. So, make sure to make use of the guidelines.
In the situation you’ve downloaded the loan app and already borrowed money from any lending app, the best bet to stop loan shark harassment is to pay off the loan you owe. Once this is done, uninstall and delete the loan app from your mobile phone. Then, do not borrow from loan sharks again.
In the case where you’ve defaulted and fear that the loan shark may send defamatory messages to your contacts list, you may go to the permissions section of the loan app, and deny the app from gaining access to your contacts, sms, and mobile phone storage. However, you should know that before you were able to obtain any funds from any loan shark, you must have granted permission for the loan app to get a copy of your contact list as you would not have been able to get the loan without doing that. So, you must repay the loan you owe to prevent your contacts from being contacted by loan sharks.
The appalling situation of loan shark harassment in Nigeria has become so worrisome that you might have likely come across a defamatory message and photo of someone you know because he or she defaulted on a loan sourced from a loan shark. The CBN’s weakness (alongside other regulatory agencies) in effectively regulating online lenders across the country has caused loan sharks to continue to hurt and inflict pain on Nigerians daily. Aside from Nigerians taking heed to the tips provided in this article more is expected from the relevant regulatory bodies if this ugly situation of loan shark harassment is to stop.