Illegal Online Loan Apps Mushrooms On

Posted: Posted Date – 11:49 PM, Wed – 15 Jun 22

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Hyderabad: Illegal online loan app companies turn out to be like weeds in a garden. The more they are ripped off and thrown away, the more ways they find to come back.

State law enforcement had sent requests to Google to remove illegal instant loan apps from Google Play Store and many were also removed. But these operators, according to the police, are finding new ways to continue their illegal activities.

People are now receiving text messages or WhatsApp messages with a link that redirects to an instant loan app. When mobile phone users click on the link, they are directed to an application and prompted to download it.

“The rest of the process is similar to what it was before. The person applies for a loan and after processing the application, the amount is credited to his account,” an official from the cybercrime police station said.

200 Apps Removed From Play Store

Telangana Police, following increasing cases of harassment of instant loan apps, had identified about 200 apps and asked Google to remove them from the Play Store. Another 200 apps were taken down following requests from other law enforcement agencies last year.

However, companies have found new ways to continue their business. “The new apps are developed in such a way that they can be downloaded to the phone if someone clicks on a link sent via WhatsApp or SMS. The gangs have a database of old customers and randomly acquire new data through the third-party intermediary,” the official said.

As it is a multi-million dollar business with companies employing hundreds of people for daily operations, spending a good sum to develop their apps is not a big deal for them, he said. he adds. The trend is seen in new cases reported at cybercrime stations across the state.

“It is because of greed and also the need for money that people continue to be lured by such messages and then resort to loans,” the official said.

Many cases have been filed against loan application companies in Telangana after several people took their own lives due to digital shaming of loan collectors.

The companies also take various precautions to conceal their identity and do not use direct telephones. “Recovery managers, instead of making calls directly, are making WhatsApp calls. The usual phone number is disabled. Also, they don’t use data on regular phones and instead use hotspots or WiFi to make phone calls,” the official added.