Mumbai: As part of cybersecurity awareness, Mumbai Police through their social media are warning citizens to beware of “instant loan” mobile apps. The cases of people falling victim to such loan applications have been steadily increasing.
“These instant loan apps provide cash instantly. When one needs cash, they don’t think twice or even once for that matter. All that matters is having money. cash in hand to meet the need. And that’s when fake loan apps and scammers come into the picture and abuse victims’ vulnerabilities. With little to basic documentation, these scammers only provide ‘money only to turn around and harass them later,’ explained a senior cyber team police officer.
The Mumbai Police, in its campaign to raise awareness about this situation, is holding several seminars and programs in different places including schools, colleges, work spaces and even in public spaces. Even after that, the cases multiply.
“Cases are on the rise, it’s true, but it’s also a fact that now people are coming out to register their complaints with us (the police) unlike before when they kept the case to themselves out of embarrassment,” explained the officer. .
The “embarrassment factor” is what causes people to refrain from coming forward. Unlike the traditional type of loan scam where victims were harassed with violence when it came to loans through mobile apps, scammers tend to hold their victims’ private data. This includes contact numbers, personal databases, images, videos – basically anything that is present in your cell phone or smartphone.
Through the said police-led campaign, they said, “Downloading and using instant loan apps will make you regret it – in an instant. Think before giving them access to your phone,” with a #ThosaSochle tag, which stands for “Think a bit.”
In a recent statistical report provided by Mumbai Police, he said that last year 42 loan fraud cases were recorded while this year the figure has risen to 96 cases (recorded till last month ).
“They give the money to the victims and then exorbitantly increase the interest rate or even change the repayment date. If we do not adhere to their request, the harassment begins. Since they have photos and personal data with them, they will use them against you (the victim).This comes in the form of transformed photos of the victims, which they will send to everyone on your contact list, which makes the victim vulnerable enough to give in to their requests,” another officer explained.
Apparently, these apps charge customers up to 500% interest rate. Recently, RBI discovered that more than 1100 digital loan apps were operating illegally and also available in mobile app stores.
Voice of victims
“I needed money for my mother’s operation. Getting a loan from the banks was not possible as it is a huge process, and I also had no work at that time. I was distraught and came across an advertisement for an instant loan application, with no documentation and even minimal interest. I decided to give it a chance and downloaded the app named “Rummy Luck” and they immediately gave me 2 lakhs.
“The repayment date was almost after 6 months, but within a few weeks I started getting consecutive calls from different numbers. When I ignored the calls for a while, my friends and other people in my contacts started getting calls and even some of my photos on their WhatsApp. I had no one to confide in so I kept it to myself and asked for more time. I managed to collect money and returned the money – more than I received – Victim
“My dad had downloaded such an app because we were running out of money for my university admission. Quite surprisingly and suspiciously, we received the money (Rs 15 lakhs) in our account. very honest, they spoke very warmly, explained the whole process to us and gave us the money.After my admission process was completed, I moved to another state.
“For a very long time, my parents did not inform me, but I learned that they were calling my parents and asking to pay back the amount with an interest rate almost 100 times higher than the agreement. They had used to verbally insult them, even send messages on WhatsApp, while threatening them with death – that’s why my parents never informed me, for my safety.
“He (his father) later borrowed money from family and friends to come back, but we never approached the police as they were aware of what people would think. Eventually the app was missing from PlayStore, could not be found Horrible experience.” – Victim
Big busted racket!
In July, Mumbai police busted an illegal loan app racket where 14 defendants across India were arrested over more than 200 fraudulent online instant loan apps. During this time, they managed to freeze 36 bank accounts with Rs 14 crore and 2.17 lakh USDT (Crypto), 211 SIM cards, 39 mobiles and 19 laptops.
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