Tormented by representatives of money lending app companies from which they obtained loans at exorbitant interest rates, at least three people recently committed suicide in Telangana.
More and more people, who until now endured such torture in silence, are asking the police for help.
Some of these victims are those who lost their jobs due to the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
P Sunil, 29, is one of those victims who hanged himself last Wednesday in his apartment in Kismatpur in Hyderabad.
Sunil, a software engineer in a private company in the Madhapur IT hub, has been unemployed for several months. Growing debts and the need to manage his family forced Sunil to turn to these online applications for instant loans.
Sunil took around Rs 2 lakh from various apps he had installed on his phone. As he did not repay the amount, representatives of the app companies started threatening and even blackmailing him saying they would shame him in front of his family and friends through social media platforms like Whatsapp. .
Subsequently, Sunil’s father and wife received calls from these companies declaring him in default and also threatened them while demanding reimbursement.
Upon learning of the abuse suffered by his family, Sunil took an extreme step.
Kirni Mounika, 28, an agricultural extension worker in Siddipet district also committed suicide last week in the face of such humiliation. Sravan Yadav, 23, a farmer from Narsapur ended his life for the same reason.
While investigating the cases, Telangana Police officials are warning the public against using such unrecognized apps that steal sensitive data to extort violators.
Police say there are at least 60 such loan applications on the Google Playstore. Most are Chinese.
“These applications are managed by certain names which are not registered or recognized by the RBI as NBFC. So their operations are completely illegal, ”officials said. “Hosting these applications also violates certain conditions imposed by Google. You may be asked to remove these apps.
Police claim that these apps collect every bit of data from user’s phone in violation of user’s privacy.
“Their actions of calling friends and relatives are against the rules,” said a police official while calling on the public to report this type of harassment.
Under the Information Technology Rules 2011 (Intermediary Guidelines), all intermediaries, i.e. applications in this case, are expected to provide the names of their grievance officer and their details. contact details. In almost all of these applications, the details provided are fictitious.
All of these applications present a strange similarity in their modus operandi. They appear to be built on a software development kit suspected of being supplied by a foreign country, police said.
Police notice to the public
Most loan applications available on the Internet are fraudulent and are not sanctioned by the RBI.
The authenticity of the NBFC allegedly represented by the app must be verified on the RBI website.
Don’t download any loan based apps because most of them are abusive.
Do not provide personal details, Aadhar, bank accounts, which are likely to be misused.
Do not allow your phone to access these loan applications.
Do not agree to the terms and conditions of a loan application.
Be aware that all contacts, photos, locations and memory on your phone will be compromised by these apps and can be used to harass or blackmail later.
The money lender may threaten a criminal case against you. Contact the police in such cases.
If you or people close to you receive abusive, threatening, or harassing calls, report them to the police.