Mobile lending moves from apps to social media
After Play Store crackdown following midday briefing, scammers start posting loan ads on influencer pages to lure borrowers
Lending app ads now appear on popular apps and social media platforms
Amid cyber cop crackdown in Maharashtra, many other neighboring states and countries Nepal on predatory lending apps, a majority of these mobile apps have adopted a new strategy. While many of these instant credit platforms have changed their names on the Google Play Store, several of them are promoted via ads on social media influencers’ FB and Insta pages, the midday found.
Police action in India and Nepal gained momentum after a series of midday reports highlighted the plight of mobile app borrowers who were being harassed and blackmailed with their transformed photos. The police established the role of the Chinese money mafia behind this racket.
The new modus operandi emerged after a 34-year-old resident of Bhayandar filed a police complaint alleging extortion by debt collectors from a digital lender.
The complainant, a security agency executive, said he was watching videos on Instagram on July 30 when he came across an advertisement for loan app Rupee Tiger. He pressed the ad link and downloaded the app, but didn’t ask for any loans.
Also read: Loan application fraud: 12th pass Bihar man was second in command to Chinese kingpin
A a loan application ad appears on a YouTube video; (right) Several new apps are now appearing on the Google Play Store
The complainant told the police that Rs 1,600 had been credited to his bank account. Soon, he received a message on WhatsApp asking him to pay Rs 3,000. Later messages threatened to share his transformed photos with all his contacts.
“When the complainant asked the officers to prove they had access to the contact details, they sent him the numbers of his wife, daughter and son in addition to his PAN and Aadhaar number. Frightened, the man paid Rs 3,000,” an officer from Bhayandar Police Station said.
Just when the man thought he had gotten rid of the problem and heaved a sigh of relief, his account received R1600 again followed by the request for Rs3000. He also paid this amount. But when the submit-request cycle repeated itself for the third time, he went to the police. On August 4, Bhayandar Police registered a case under the IPC and Computer Law.
Cyber expert Swapnil Patil said the Reserve Bank of India has so far removed more than 200 fake lending apps from the Play Store with the help of Google.
Patil said, “Many lending apps are rebranding and coming back to the Play Store with a different identity. Many lending apps have started putting their links as ads on social media influencer videos on Instagram and Facebook, except videos on YouTube. People become greedy to see advertisements and then become victims of cyber frauds. »
Amount credited to complainant’s account
Amount the man was asked to pay each time