Lack of Due Diligence by Digital Service Providers Only Leads to Rise in Loan App Scams in Bangalore

Lack of Due Diligence by Digital Service Providers Only Leads to Rise in Loan App Scams in Bangalore

A 37-year-old businesswoman from Yelahanka recently contacted the North East Cybercrime Police to report about five mobile phone numbers, which not only spammed her with calls but also accessed her trading app for withdraw ₹4,800.

The victim said that a person, who called her to inform her of a Rupee loan application, began harassing her, her contacts and family members to repay a loan she did not had ever contracted. She never downloaded the app, she said in her complaint.

The businesswoman is not alone. The loan application scam appears to be a new category of cybercrime. He tops the list of recently reported cases in the city.

At least one in 10 cybercrime cases reported in the city is linked to harassment by loan applications, senior police officials said. Despite awareness and measures to reduce the threat, it continues unabated.

The procedure is simple: there are hundreds of applications available for free on the Google Playstore offering quick loans. Anyone who downloads the application grants access to their mobile phone. People with phone access can wreak havoc, a senior police officer said.

However, even those who have not downloaded any of these applications may also receive messages, as a person whose number is on their contact list may have downloaded such an application.

The investigation of these cases also faces major challenges. “Most of the leaders of these applications use WhatsApp calls and laptops to communicate. Accessing the IP address to track them is next to impossible unless cell phones or direct calls are used,” said an officer involved in several investigations into lending app scams.

The trend started with China’s instant loan apps, busted across the country, including by the state’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), two years ago. However, local cyber crooks quickly caught on to the trend, and loan applications sprang up, posing a challenge to the police.

Police also blame a lack of due diligence on the part of service providers allowing these apps to proliferate without due diligence. “Even when particular apps are flagged by security agencies, the service provider’s response is poor and laid back. Many apps we flagged continue to be on the Google Playstore, allowing more people to be harassed and deceived,” the official said.

“A growing number of cybercrimes related to lending applications is a concern and requires a well-coordinated effort to effectively tackle the problem,” Anoop A. Shetty, DCP, Northeast Division.

The City Cyber ​​Crime Police has released a comic to inform the public and raise awareness about the dangers posed by lending apps. The Reserve Bank of India has also published a manual, Raju and 40 thievesfor the same, but loan apps continue to harass and defraud thousands of people every day.

Some of the recent crimes reported :

R. Harish from Baashankari borrowed an instant loan of ₹58,000 after downloading a loan app and repaying ₹1.9 lakh. But he received threatening messages and abuse every day demanding more money.

A 19-year-old girl had edited obscene videos sent to her family and contacts, demanding repayment of a loan she had never taken.

Hrishikesh Radhakrishna, 20, a student of KR Puram received a link on his mobile. he accidentally clicked on it while deleting the link. Soon, Alexandra Loan, Kangaroo Loan and Loan Seva apps were downloaded on her mobile and ₹45,000 was deducted from her bank account and transferred to three accounts. The defendant wrote “rapist” on the copy of his PAN card and distributed it to friends and family, demanding a refund.

Safety tips

Use protected and safe websites

Do not access unknown links

Do not download any unauthorized application

Ensure a strong password for your device and social media accounts

Call 112 to report a Cybercrime Incident (CIR) allowing suspects’ bank accounts to be frozen in the event of fraudulent bank account access or data theft