Jammu, 20 September, 2022:  Lending Apps, which lend small sums targeting low-income and financial unsavvy local residents of J&K, are on the rise again despite such apps being removed from the  Google play store already. Such apps are dangerous as the harassment by recovery agents have driven some to suicide in recently here in Jammu and Kashmir.

Amid complaints of harassment and blackmailing, the cyber wing of the police yesterday cautioned people against downloading Chinese money lending apps offering online soft loans.

Sandeep Chaudhary, SSP, Cyber Crime Investigation, shared a video clip on social media, discussing in detail the modus operandi of the culprits behind these apps.

“Such Chinese apps offer loans of Rs 5,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 on a very low interest rate for a specified period. Sometimes people deliberately or unintentionally download such apps. While the loan applications are under process, the app operators hack the messages, phone gallery and contacts, and transfer data to their servers outside the country,” Chaudhary said.

He said the app then asks for copies of Aadhaar and PAN, following which the loan amount is transferred immediately. After a week or 10 days, the borrower finds his loan amount almost doubled and is threatened and blackmailed since all his details are compromised and a vicious cycle starts, the police officer said.

“In case if any one got caught in the trap of such scammers, they can call on this local Cyber cell Helpline Number ‘1930’  for help”, he said.

These platforms exploit the unmet need for credit and target vulnerable borrowers by offering supposedly no-strings-attached credit. However, they come with huge interest rates and extortionate terms and conditions, to which borrowers have no recourse. And with just one tap, you basically allow them access to everything on your phone- be it your entire contacts list, photos and videos. And the moment you fill in the details such as your Aadhaar, PAN, address, the amount you need and click apply, you will see your account credited with cash. The apps, on the pretext of advancing a loan, accesses all information from the customers’ phones which could later be used by the company to perpetrate some other financial crime.