Police identify 100 apps used for loan scams and send list for blocking | Bombay News

Mumbai: Police have compiled a list of 100 loan apps and sent them to national nodal agency CERT-In for blocking, following a series of complaints about digital lenders blackmailing borrowers. Until last week, the number of these FIRs was 23, which increased to 27 with the filing of four new FIRs. In one of the previous cases, a resident of Malad committed suicide due to harassment by recovery workers.
CERT-In was set up to respond to computer security incidents as they occur. “Our proposal will be reviewed by CERT-In and they will make a decision on which apps to block,” a senior IPS officer said. Police admitted that even after being blocked, apps could still reappear in a new avatar and they should keep looking.” Harassment will only stop when borrowers don’t click on unsolicited links or download dangerous applications. To achieve this, we try to raise awareness and educate people,” the officer said.
These apps, upon installation, ask the victims to grant all permissions including access to their phone contacts and photos. The harassment begins shortly after the payment is due, and a common strategy is to send tweaked photos to the victim’s contacts. Among the victims are women. Cybersecurity experts said rising inflation and job losses due to Covid have impacted people’s finances and many have sought out quick loans, making them easy targets for digital lenders. “Borrowers tend to download apps from unknown sources such as third-party links. Police should immediately report such links to CERT-In. Investigators need to know who the owner of the app is, when the app has been registered, what are the Internet protocol (IP) addresses associated with it and whether the application is new or a replica of an old and closed one,” said Nikhil Mahadeshwar, founder of a cybersecurity initiative. Apps downloaded from unknown sources might end up getting your phone hacked.
A Google spokesperson told TOI that they have reviewed hundreds of personal loan applications in India to ensure they are compliant with the policy: “For applications that remain non-compliant after the deadline , we have taken the necessary enforcement actions as part of our ongoing policy compliance sweeps, including removing apps from the Play Store. We recently introduced additional requirements for developers offering personal loans in India as facilitators, requiring them to also prominently disclose the names of all NBFCs and partner banks in the application description.This policy update came into effect on May 11.
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