Jalandhar, April 17
The next time you receive pre-approved easy loan messages or find an app on Google Play Store offering loan assistance or paperless easy loan, think twice before accepting such an offer. It could be a well-planned trap, which can not only land you in trouble, but also entangle you and your family in a web of threats, abuse, blackmail and extortion.
The same happened with city-based Sachiv Kumar (45) who over the past four days has been going through the most difficult time of his life as he was severely bullied and threatened for having took out a loan of Rs. 2,100 which he claims did not even take advantage of a loan app on Play Store.
Sachiv told The Tribune that he applied for a loan of Rs. 3,500 online on the “Loan Assist” app, which he found on Play Store on March 27 and the loan amount was due to be repaid within seven days. However, the loan he applied for was immediately rejected, and he subsequently uninstalled the app the same day.
He said on March 31, a sum of Rs. 2,100 was credited to his account with the Indian Overseas Bank. “As I uninstalled the app the same day and my request was rejected, I had no idea who the debtor was. Upon investigation, it was revealed that the said amount was credited by the ‘Loan’ app Assist’ and that it should be refunded within seven days,” he said.
“I deposited Rs. 1,450 on 6th April, but the company advised that they did not receive any amount. Likewise, he made another transfer of Rs. 1,400 and paid Rs. 2,850 in total against the loan amount of Rs. 2,100 in seven days. But the company kept harassing him saying that his payment was due,” he added.
He further stated that at the time of loan advancement, he deposited his PAN and Aadhaar cards and provided his bank account details and also sent his photographs. He said that despite paying off the loan amount within given time, Loan Assist employees – Subhana, Vinod and others – started blackmailing him into paying another Rs 1 lakh otherwise, her nude and obnoxious photos would be uploaded to social media.
“Not only that, they forwarded me my photo-shopped photos of my documents with captions stating that I was a rapist, who raped a 10-year-old girl and ran away, a thief and a loan defaulter. and whoever finds me in the audience should hand me over to the police etc,” Sachiv added.
He added that to extort money, the employees adopted all illegal and harmful means to harass him. He said that being the sole breadwinner in the family, all the responsibilities rested on his shoulders.
“Because of all this stress, my father suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and a paralysis attack and is now bedridden and his mother is a heart patient. I was mentally depressed after the employees shared the falsified photos of my documents with a few of my friends in my contact list I tried to end my life and get out of it all but realized I couldn’t let them denigrate my reputation through no fault of mine said Sachiv, adding that he then decided to ask the police for help and filed a written complaint at the police station (a copy of which is in the possession of La Tribune).
He said he was assured by the police that they would find the fraudsters as soon as possible.
How to identify fake loan apps
“To avoid falling prey to these fake apps, users before downloading any app should read app ratings on play store and reviews on google. They should check whether the app is connected to any bank or a non-banking financial company registered with the RBI (NBFC).Furthermore, until you are sure of the app’s credibility, users should avoid submitting their selfies, passport size photos, card Aadhaar, PAN card or any confidential details like bank account information, credit and debit card PINs or addresses,” said Palvinder Singh, cyber expert.
Dial 1930 to report cyber fraud
The Punjab Police Cyber Crime Unit has recently launched a 1930 toll free hotline to report any financial fraud committed through computer means. Residents can file financial cyber fraud complaints at any time by dialing 1930. A well-equipped and trained team of the state’s Cyber Crime Unit works around the clock to save citizens’ hard-earned money.