A Filipino domestic worker in Singapore has filed a case against a loan shark with the help of her boss after being asked to repay a loan at exorbitant interest rates.

The 32-year-old had been a domestic worker in Singapore for nine years, the Lianhe Wanbao (Singapore) reported. In March last year, her family in the Philippines needed money to build a small house on a piece of land left by a deceased relative.

At the time, the woman had only been in a new job less than five months and was afraid to ask her employer for help. A Filipino friend then told her about an SMS advertisement for personal loans and she believed the services were from a legal moneylender.

She contacted a man via WhatsApp and was told she could get a S$3,000 (US$2,196) loan, which could be settled in 10 months by paying S$330 (US$242) each month.

She gave her employer’s mobile phone number and pictures of her work permit to be processed for the loan application, but the man changed his mind and transferred her only a 10th of the agreed sum – S$300 – and said she must repay him S$400 (US$292) in four weeks or the loan would be continued.

She then tried to retract the loan application, but the man refused and threatened to alert her employer and harm the two children aged nine and seven in her care. He sent her 20 or 30 SMS messages daily.

Fearing something would happen to the family of her employer, she sought help from her employment agent, who talked to her employer. Her employer accompanied her to file a case with the police over the illegal moneylender.