Media reports in the recent one year or so, has been flooded with reports of victims committing suicide, after having fallen prey to scamsters offering instant loan to the victims through the Smart Phone Apps. Among these scamsters, are also those, who force/entice customers to install Apps on a smart phone, also the spurious app, and then are able to obtain loan through the digital process offered by the app. In one such incident of July 2022; Two Young men from Karimnagar District, Telangana State, India, in despair over alleged harassment by recovery agents of instant loan apps, took their own lives. This incident and many such similar incidents which is seen to be occurring in the last two years now, has alerted the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to initiate awareness drive and also take actions against concerned perpetrators.
Consumers, who are looking for an easy loan, do a Google Search and then, find that there are many Apps on the Play Store, (That may be using familiar Banking Logos or Icons) which only require an installation with a few permissions. Once installed, the App will guide you through the easy process of applying for a micro loan, (say from ₹ 2000/- to a few thousands). The Apps on play store are numerous in number, and the scamsters have also resorted to placing the search result on the top of the page, by paying hefty advertisement costs. The menace is so huge, that Google had to bring down over 200 of these fake apps since the last quarter of 2021. This was done due to policy violations and on instructions of the Law Enforcement Agencies in India and also the RBI. But they do reappear with similar/different names and icons on social media and messaging platforms.
The victims, are mostly from the Lower Economic strata or the Lower-Middle class, who wish to take the loan to meet an impromptu requirement. The process of applying is made simple, and the documents like Photos, Sample Signature, Aadhaar, Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Bank Statement, Blank Cheque, etc, are obtained through the Smart Phone Camera. The loan amount after deduction of the mandatory charges also gets remitted to the victim’s bank account instantly.
The fraud starts from the point of installation of the app itself, in which all the permissions and consent is taken initially, thereby giving access to photos, contacts, videos, chats, etc, from the victim’s phone. Now the next step is the paying back of the entire sum with the hefty interest charged. The scamsters does not stop at this; the team, now starts to defame the victim by virtue of the access he has to the contact list. (Instances of stored number of the girlfriend, being threatened to be communicated to the victim’s wife, is also a form noticed in the modus-operandi) (or threatening to ring up parents of the loan taken or its default, etc). In the case of defaulting of a loan or delayed payment, the scamsters are at their best, even to the extent of extortion and also driving many of the victims to the point of suicide. The scheme of things is deliberately made so genuine, that even the Cyber Security Conscious individuals fall prey to these scamsters. To attract gullible borrowers, the fraudsters advertise “limited period offers” and ask borrowers to make urgent decisions using pressure tactics.
There is another form of similar loan scam in which the modus operandi is different: in which the Fraudsters issue fake advertisements offering personal loans at very attractive and low rates of interest or easy repayment options or without any requirement of collateral/ security, etc. The Fraudsters also send emails with such offers and ask the borrowers to contact them. These sender email-ids are made to look-like the email’s IDs of senior officials of well-known / genuine Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), as to make it look genuine. The victims then approach the fraudsters for loans, the fraudsters take money from the borrowers in the name of various upfront charges like processing fees, Goods and Services Tax (GST), intercity charge, advance Equated Monthly Instalment (EMI), etc., and then the fraudster do not return on matters of the loan. As explained earlier, the fraudsters, to make the victim believe, also create fake website links to show up on search engines, when people search for information on loans.
When asked about the Instant Loan App Scan and means to protect oneself from them, Prof Triveni Singh, SP Cyber Crime, UP, and a Cyber Crime Expert quoted that “It is the Youth, who are more attracted by the small loan that they offer on instant bases that attracts them. The Loan offered is at a price, the apps are mostly operated by Chinese Backend, with handlers in India. These app owners, have a unique form of recovery methodology; in which they have already done essential damage while installation of the app on your phone: the contact details, videos, even chat history are already in their possession, which they use as bait to threaten or defame the borrower, and ultimately to recover more than what one has received from them.”, He also mentioned, that “Caution should be exercised while searching for these types of app, as they pay and list the fraud app on the top of such search, also the documents that are uploaded by the borrower is then used for malicious activities later. Any such act should be reported to police, and the fear of being embarrassed or being exposed, should not be a deterrent in reporting such fraud.”
Recently, in a news article, posted on the site “www.the420.in” an authentic list of such spurious fake loan app, containing 274 (https://www.the420.in/274-fake-loan-apps-come-under-scanner-for-major-violations-check-full-list-here/) (click on the link to see the complete list) of them was quoted. The problem here is that these once exposed, can come up again with different colour schema and icons, these will spring into the system in the next instance. It can also be speculated that these apps may be operated by the same back-end ring leaders.
LIST OF FRAUDELENT LOAN APPS (Available on different app stores)
Cash Advance Atach, Dhan Pal, Cash Host, Rupeeok, Cash Manager, Fri Loan, Cash Advance T1,Cashcom, Walletpro, Well Credit Gold, Honey Loan, Eulavt App, Honey Loan App, Handey Loan, Cash Advance, Lucky Loan App, DuttaRuppes, Personal Loan App, Rapid Paisa, Money View App, Doa Cash Loan App, Coin Track, Avail Finance, Help Money Application, Credit Box Alpha Loan, Future Wellet, Harmony Loan, Needy Loan ,Sugar Money, KreditcoinApp, Areako, Credit Pearl, May Loan, Fortress Loan App, Cash Credit, Ariaeko Lone, Wallet Pro, Cartel Loan, Lucy Cash Lone, Ok Rupee Loan Application, Hi Credit App, Support Loan, Quick Money App,Topcash Loan, Easy Barrow Loan App, Carpwallet, Rupeebox, Credit marvelx, Rupeeredee Loan App, Many Loan, Rupee pocket, Payrupik, Kridet Marvel, Volcano Loan, More Loan, Magic Loan, Instant Loan, Yes Cash, Magic Money, Rupee Papa, Cash Xp, Rupee Ok 1, Cash Ok, Sunshine Loan, Credit it App, Palmrupees, Easy Rp, Money Ladder, Elephant Cash, Magicc Loan, Cash Loan, Pillai Loan, Credit Loan, Rupeey Hall, Income Loan App, Top Cash, Flash Rupee, Cash Station, Rupeestar, Link Money, Loan Home, Ruffilo, Mony Stand Credit Loan, Charms Mass Tech Pvt Ltd (Bellon Loan App), Baba Nanak Financial Services Ltd (Kredit Mango App), Aladdin Lamp TechnologyPvt Ltd (Papa Money Loan App), PradhanmantriYojna Loan App, Loan Bro Loan App, Rupeehome, Krazeyben, Aaacash, Crystal Loan, Gold Sea, Monney Tank, Yes Rupees, Flash Loan App, Need Rupee, Mama Loan, Dhani, Rainbow Loan, Quick Cash, Moneystand, Moneyhouse, Stany Rupee, Creditrupee, Cash Samosa, Infinity Cash, My Kredit,, Lucky Loan, Sugar Money, Kissht, Rufilo, May Lon App, Fexli Loan, Marwel Loan Baba Nayak Finance, Minutes In Cash, Brow Cash, Get Cash, Discover Loan App, Cash Cow, E Paisa (New Paisa), Shuttle Loan, Es Loan, Alpha Loan, Honey Loanin, Cash Light, Topcash, Manta Cash, O Cash, Hello Box, Wallaby App, Jasmine Loan App, Arak Loan, Fast Cash, Only Loan, Rupaiya Bus, Link Money, Lend Moll, Creditking, Hi Cash (AnggraeniNugroho),UPA Loan, Goldman Payback, Handy loan, Rupeeking, MiRupe, One Loan, Cash Any Time, Express Loan, Loan Dream, Rupee Loan, Flash Loan Mobile, Rupee Star, Wow Rupee, Cash Park Loan, Hoo Cash, First Cash, Clear Loan, Rupee Box, Small Loan, Rich, Loan Go, Asan Loan, Live Cash, Fast Rupee, Loan Fortune, Cash Pocket, Insta Loan, Apna Paisa, Coin Rupee, Cash Papa, Loan Cube, Hand Cash, Loan Home Small, I Credit, Wen Credit, Samay Rupee, Lend Mall, Silver Pocket, Bharat Cash, Money Master, Easy Loan, Warn Rupee, Smart Coin, Lucky Wallet, UPO Loan.com, Buddy Loan, Cash Mine, Tyto Cash, My Cash Loan, Simple Loan, Cash Machine Loan, For Pay, Minute Cash, Fast Paisa, More Cash, Cash Book, Hand Cash Friendly Loan, Reliable Rupee Cash, Early Credit App, Eagle cash loan App, Cash Carry App, Cash park, rich cash, fresh loan, Betwinnerbetting,Rupee mall, SUN CASH, Minute cash, Bus rupee, ob cash loan, onstream, Kash loan, Small Loan, Rupiya bus, Insta money, Slice pay, loan cube, Ikarza, money stand pro, Pokemoney, Quality Cash, loan loji, Forpay app, Rupeeplus, Dream loan, cash star miniso rupee, cashpal, fortune now, credit wallet, pocket bank, Loanzone, Fast coin, star loan,Easy Credit, ATD lone, tree lone, Balance lone, cash bowl, Cash curry, cash machine, cash pocket live Cash, Cash Cola, 66 cash, koko loan, Loan Resource(disi), Cash Hole, Easy Borrow Cash loan, IND loan, Wallet Payee, Cash Guru App, Gold Cash, Orange Loan, Angel Loan, Loan Sathi, Sharp Loan, Daily Loan, Sky Loan, Mo Cash, Jo Cash, Best Paisa, Hello Rupee, Holiday Mobile Loan, Phone Pay, Plump Wallet, Cashcarry Loan App, Crazy Cash, Quick Loan App, Rocket Loan, Rupee Magic, Rush Loan, Bellono Loan App, Agile Loan app, Cash advance 1, IncomeOK. (There may even more……..)
It has also been noticed that the Fraudulent Apps and Services offered over Web, have also been integrated with genuine KYC APIs and they also may be using the genuine Licence Key of KYC Agents to make the complete process look genuine.
Precautions against falling victim to Fake Loan Services:
- Verify if the lender is registered with the Government / Regulator /authorised agencies
- Check whether the lender has provided a physical address or contact information to ensure it is not difficult to contact them later.
- Beware if the lender appears more interested in obtaining personal details rather than in checking credit scores.
- Remember that any reputed NBFC / bank will never ask for payment before processing the loan application.
- Genuine loan providers never offer money without verifying documents and other credentials of the borrowers.
- Verify if these NBFC-backed loan apps are genuine.
- Loan processing fee charged by NBFCs / banks is deducted from the sanctioned loan amount and not demanded upfront in cash from the borrower.
- Never pay any processing fee in advance as NBFCs / banks will never ask for an advance fee before the processing of loan application.
Do not make payments or enter secure credentials against online offer of loans at low interest rates, etc., without checking / verifying the particulars through genuine sources.
- The Loan Apps available on App Stores, need to be backed by RBI Licences, Do verify the organisation that is backing the loan app.