Instant loan apps trick HR manager into scam

In 5 months, a 25-year-old was forced to download at least 25 applications, each claiming to bail it out from a previous loan; cybercrime cell survey

In a ghastly sample of desperation making people gullible, a young HR manager found herself trapped in a financial scam after downloading an instant credit offer that reached her as a message on her phone. Once she fell prey to clicking on the link that came to her, she was forced to download 25 loaner apps on her. mobile over only five months, which claimed that she owed them Rs 50,000, while all she had in hand was Rs 1,700.

The 25-year-old woman, Roma Pachigorla, who works at the World Trade Center in Kharadi, finally contacted the cybercrime police and filed a complaint against the owners of the various apps, who granted her these alleged bogus loans.

According to FIR housed in August, in the heart of confinement, Pachigorla urgently needed Rs 70,000 for her father’s medical care. Such was her predicament that she clicked on one of those messages offering instant loan. When she did, she was asked to download a application called Palm Cash from Google play store. She complied. She also allowed the app to access her mobile data to install it. In order to get an OTP on her phone, she also shared her bank details with the app.

At her request, the lady was sanctioned with a princely sum of Rs 3,000, of which only Rs 1,700 was credited to her, the remaining amount being withheld as processing fees, GST and application costs. Then, seven days later, she was told to repay the loan of Rs 3,000. When she was unable to repay the amount, she was threatened and subjected to severe mental stress before being guided to an institution. other application, which would reimburse on its behalf.

Cybercrime officials explained that each app collects personal information about the victim and ultimately threatened to make it go viral; PHOTO FILE

Within days the situation repeated itself and she was pushed into downloading another app and this quickly became standard procedure. In December, she had downloaded 25 applications to her phone and, according to difficult calculations, it was claimed that between them, she had been fined Rs 42,500 and that she had to repay Rs 50,000 with interest. “While the apps claimed to have loaned her this large amount, she only got the minimum amount at the very beginning and no more,” said Mahadev Kumbhar, a police inspector at the Cybercrime Police Station in Shivajinagar.

“The trick deployed by the defendants is that they send an instant loan link to mobile numbers. When a person clicks on the link, they are forced to download an app. Subsequently, they receive a small portion of the sanctioned loan, with a large portion of the money withheld in the name of taxes and processing fees. If a person is not able to repay within the stipulated short time, they manipulate the victim into downloading more apps, taking more loans to pay off the first one. Through this mechanism, they access the victim’s mobile data, collecting their personal data, which is then used to threaten the person to submit, ”Kumbhar explained.

Pachigorla has also been threatened that her personal data will go viral on social media. A case has been filed against the owners of the apps, under Sections 420 (cheating), 500 (libel), 504 (intentional insult), 507 (criminal intimidation by anonymous communication) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code ( IPC) as well as the relevant articles of the Information Technology Act 2000.

While the apps claimed to have loaned her this large amount, she only got the minimum amount at the very beginning and no more.

—Mahadev Kumbhar, Police Inspector at Cybercrime Police Station in Shivajinagar

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