In yet another case of loan app fraud, a 28-year-old man, who took an online loan of Rs 5,000 from a mobile app and repaid Rs 8,200 including the interest amount, was harassed by recovery agents who extorted Rs 4.28 lakh from him.
An FIR was registered on June 2 at the Chunnabhatti police station. The man told the police he works as a kitchen supervisor and was in urgent need of money in the month of March for his wife’s medical treatment.
When no one helped him, on March 28, he came across an app called ‘Cash Bus’ on the Google Play Store, the man told the police in his statement. After installing the app, he gave access to his gallery, contact list and location.
He was also asked to submit his PAN card number and Aadhaar card details along with a selfie. After completing the process, he received a message from them that he will receive Rs 50,000 and will have to return it in 90 days.
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After clicking on the yes button, he received only Rs 5,000 which had to be returned in a week. “I called the customer care number to inquire why I got only Rs 5,000 instead of Rs 50,000 but got no reply,” he said.
The harassment began when he could not return the money. He returned Rs 8,200 including interest on April 2 but the harassment did not stop. “I said I have made the payment but they kept calling saying it’s not updated with them. They then sent my morphed obscene photo and video to me on WhatsApp and this is when I started sending them money. Despite this, they kept sending my obscene photos from different mobile numbers to me. They then said that they will be sending these photos and videos to everyone in my contact list,” the man told the police.
The man has submitted 20 mobile numbers used by the conmen to harass him to the police. He reportedly received 200 to 250 abusive messages from different numbers and initially ended up paying Rs 1.5 lakh from his own pocket. When the man told them he had run out of money, the fraudsters suggested he download other loan apps and take loans from them to repay their money.
The man ended up taking more loans from other apps and in all paid them Rs 4.28 lakh to stop the harassment. As he was unable to pay up, the fraudsters sent his morphed photos and videos to people in his contact list. “He faced a lot of social stigma and decided to approach the police,” said the police officers.
On condition of anonymity, he told The Indian Express, “They sent my morphed obscene photos to my bosses and others at my workplace. My mind stopped working. I felt like committing suicide. I just wanted this harassment to stop and under pressure, gave them money. When I read that one person had committed suicide due to the harassment, I mustered courage and approached the police. They sent my morphed photos to my pregnant wife as well. She was very scared due to all this. I still get calls from them. I do not pick up calls from unknown numbers now.”
The Mumbai Police have lodged 47 loan app fraud cases during March-April, of which, it could crack only one case. It had filed 42 such cases during the entire last year and was able to crack only five of them. However, a Mumbai Police official said hundreds of such incidents have occurred but victims do not wish to come forward to file FIRs.