Instant loan apps, which lend money in a jiffy with no paperwork, scam thousands of people in Bangalore every day.
They are mostly of Chinese descent and are managed with the help of Indian call centers and rogue recovery agents.
âThe eight cybercrime police stations in Bengaluru regularly receive calls about loan application fraud making threatening calls and dispatching recovery agents. But people are reluctant to file a complaint. But they should come forward without fear, âsaid an officer from the Criminal Investigation Department. Metrolife.
Many applications steal data for the purpose of blackmail. They access WhatsApp’s chats, contacts, bank details and other sensitive data and use them for fraud and extortion purposes.
âThe interest rate is breathtaking,â says a senior official. If the borrower is female, threats range from rape to photos uploaded to pornographic sites, he says.
Scammers get full access to private photos and videos, in addition to bank details.
âPrivate data is sometimes sold to other fraudsters, who commit their own crimes,â the officer explains. Hacking is often part of the operation.
âScammers keep track of people who google for loans. They access e-mails and information exchanged with banks and approach customers pretending to be bank managers, âexplains the agent.
Bengaluru Police suspect operators in Kerala, Hyderabad and Goa of being involved in a loan application scam.
âThey build a network across states and speak in different languages ââto instill trust in people. They study social media profiles to understand their victims.
âThe targets are educated businessmen and small entrepreneurs whose businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic,â the officer added.
Keep an eye open
Some reputable companies list loan apps as one of their payment options, and curious customers who click on them are notified that their dues are cleared by the app.
They usually have three days to pay for the app, and beyond the deadline, huge interest is charged every day and begins to receive threatening calls.
Kapil Gupta, director of Volon Cyber ââSecurity, a company that occasionally assists police, says Google is trying
not to allow malicious applications on its Playstore.
âIt is not possible for Google to prevent fraud,â he explains. “But they take complaints seriously.”
Borrowers generally tend to ignore the fine print. Penalties and interest are rising and making it difficult for lenders to repay loans, he says.
The apps calculate interest daily. In one case, a borrower who took Rs 10,000 was asked to pay Rs 1 lakh after three months. This equates to an astronomical interest rate of 10% per day and 3,650 times per year. In contrast, banks charge interest of only 14 percent per year on personal loans. Scam apps sometimes grant loans so quickly that many customers don’t realize what’s going on. Within days, they are trapped in a cycle of debt, borrowing from one lender to pay off another. Depending on the police, the interest rate fluctuates and debt collectors try to squeeze borrowers as tight as possible.
Small quick loans
The loans vary between Rs 3,000 and Rs 10,000, and large processing fees are added to the daily interest. The apps employ developers between the ages of 17 and 28, according to police investigating fraud cases. Recently banned Google Play Store
many Chinese applications following fraud complaints.
Case in Bangalore
December 25, 2020: A 27-year-old man commits suicide after being harassed by representatives of a money-lending app.
January 1, 2021: Police arrest three executives of an instant loan company: Syed Ahmed (33), Syed Irfan (26) and Adithya Senapathi (25).
Check Loan Company Credentials Before Borrowing: Is It RBI Approved?
When downloading, do not say “yes” to all of the default options. Beware of apps that ask for access to your contacts and photos.
Read all of the terms and conditions before taking out a loan.
Cybercrime police urge victims of loan applications to file a complaint without delay. Their email id is [email protected] You can call them on 9480801554 or 080 22094480.
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