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Public Warning on the Alleged Easy Credit Granting through social networks

Banco de Portugal is aware of several situations in which legal or natural persons offer the public, through social networks, in particular “Facebook”, loans, demanding, in return, the payment of monetary sums using false pretexts.

Typically, these entities claim to grant loans quickly, without complex formalities, the provision of guarantees, with discretion and to everyone, even those who are unable to obtain credit from the financial system.

Among the characteristics of these proposals, are the following:

  • The contacts with customers are usually established through advertising, namely, on Facebook, of credit granting offers to people who urgently need “liquidity”;
  • The authors of the publications improperly use the name and image of authorised financial institutions or credible/public individuals to generate confidence in the potential customers;
  • After capturing the customer, namely, through the Facebook profile, the dialogue is often initiated through the “Messenger” or “Whatsapp” platform, or through an email contact / phone number provided - often with a phone number registered abroad - for more information;
  • The client is asked for personal information and copies of identification documents, designed to give credibility to the credit offering, such as full name, address, tax identification number and / or copy of an identification document, salary receipt, among others;
  • After communicating the terms of the loan, such as the amount, interest and monthly installments - which are made known in text form or through supposed contracts, mostly forged - these entities request the advance of a sum so that the loan amount is available;
  • These advances are often classified as “insurance payment”, “amount required for credit release”, “international transfer fee”, “tax payment”, among others;
  • After the payment of these advances, new requests for money are frequently made, under the pretext of various justifications, which are often accompanied by presumed falsified proof of bank transfers of the requested loan amount;
  • Customers are involved in a context of repetitive requests for funds to unlock capital, which they believe is only dependent on the payment of these amounts;
  • Customers never receive the requested loan amounts;
  • These loan proposals are fraudulent schemes done by unauthorised entities that aim to obtain illegitimate benefits, taking advantage people’s financial vulnerability.

In this regard, Banco de Portugal publishes the following clarifications and warnings:

  1. In Portugal, the activity of granting credit, in whatever form, is reserved for authorised entities, as provided for in Article 4 (1)(b) of the Legal Framework of Credit Institutions and Financial Companies (RGICSF), approved by Decree-Law No. 298/92, of December 31, in accordance with the provisions of article 10 of the same diploma;
  2. The activity of credit intermediation is also reserved for authorised entities, pursuant to article 11 of Decree-Law no. 81-C / 2017, of 7 July (RJIC).
  3. The registration of these entities in the Special Register of Institutions of Banco de Portugal is a condition for the exercise, in Portugal, of any financial activity, namely the granting and intermediation of credit, pursuant to Article 65(1) RGICSF and Article 25(1) RJIC.

Before signing any loans or sending any amount within the scope of a possible financing contract, the parties must carefully check the legitimacy of the financing entities, namely through prior consultation on the Banco de Portugal’s website, where the list of registered institutions and, therefore, authorised to exercise financial activity in Portugal, is published (https://www.bportugal.pt/en/entidades-autorizadas).

In case of doubt, you should contact Banco de Portugal, using the form available at the Banco de Portugal website or by sending an email to info@bportugal.pt.

The present public warning on the granting of easy credit through social networks reiterates, now with a particular focus on digital platforms, the public alert on the supposed granting of easy credit issued by Banco de Portugal in February 2019. Whenever necessary, Banco de Portugal also publishes notices on entities not authorised to develop financial activity subject to its supervision.