Online loan app fraudsters also stole data
Investigations into the mobile app loan racket busted by the CID revealed that the accused would not only harass and threaten customers who defaulted on payment of interest or repayment of the loan amount, but also hack into their mobile phones, including contacts and pictures.
Using these personal data, they allegedly created a WhatsApp group consisting of the contacts of customers and posted abusive messages against the customer with the photograph of the customer, labelling them ‘fraud’ or ‘defaulter’. There are instances of voice messages by recovery agents of the company threatening physical and sexual assault on female customers, CID sleuths said.
Harassed customers ended up taking loans through other apps to repay the previous one, getting caught in a vicious circle of taking and repaying loans, officials said.
Preliminary investigation revealed that citizens of neighbouring countries are the investors and CEOs of these apps.
Taking serious note of the fraud, the RBI has cautioned against unauthorised digital lending platforms and mobile apps.
Yogesh Dayal, Chief General Manager, RBI, in a statement on Wednesday, said that there have been reports about individuals or small businesses falling prey to a growing number of unauthorised digital lending platforms and mobile apps on promises of getting loans in quick and hassle-free manner. These reports refer to excessive rates of interest and additional hidden charges being demanded from borrowers, adoption of unacceptable and high-handed recovery methods; and misuse of agreements to access data on the mobile phones of the borrowers. Consumers should never share copies of KYC documents with unidentified persons, unverified apps and should report such apps or bank account information associated with the apps to law enforcement agencies or use Sachet portal (https://sachet.rbi.org.in) to file an online complaint.