Google removes over 2,000 fraudulent lending apps from the Play Store
Google said it purged more than 2,000 personal loan applications from the Google Play Store between January and June. The announcement comes after various reports suggested that malicious personal loan apps are targeting users in India using fake threats and extorting money. Google said it took action after consulting with law enforcement. Also Read – Google Opens Alternative Billing Options on Play Store for Users in India
The Indian government also plans to ban 300 of these predatory personal loan apps soon. The malicious apps that will be removed are mostly China-related in one form or another. Many of these apps have also been linked to money laundering. Also Read – Truecaller Releases Improved Version of App for Apple iPhones
Saikat Mitra, senior director and head of trust and safety at Google Asia Pacific, said the blocked apps targeted Indian users. He also informed that the tech giant will make more changes to its Play Store policy to curb the proliferation of such predatory apps. With a few changes in place, Google requires personal loan applications in India to meet additional proof of eligibility requirements. Read also – The Indian market for connected watches grows by 300% in one year and overtakes China
Eligibility includes a copy of their license by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and a statement that they are not directly engaged in money lending activities and only provide a platform to facilitate lending of money by registered non-bank financial companies (NBFC) or banks to users.
“If you are licensed by the RBI to provide personal loans, you must submit a copy of your license for our review,” the company said in a recent blog post.
“If you are not directly engaged in money lending business and only provide a platform to facilitate the lending of money by non-bank financial companies (NBFCs) or registered banks to users , you will need to accurately reflect that in the statement,” he added. .
How the Loan Application Scam Works
When someone in need of money downloads one of these personal loan applications, they are allowed to borrow money with minimal background checks. Once the apps are downloaded, various permissions are requested, including access to contact details and even the user’s gallery.
Once the money has been received from the loan application, the user starts receiving threatening messages long before the repayment due date. Since many of these users had given access to their contact list and picture gallery, the rogue app starts threatening to send objectionable images of the user to their contact list. In order to prevent this from happening, they start demanding much more money than the agreed amount. The user ends up paying much more than he borrowed.