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Telangana Police arrested 17 people from Gurugram, New Delhi for illegally operating instant loan apps without the permission of the Reserve Bank of India. The instant loan apps did not have the approval of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Several of these instant loans apps had adopted many means to harass people online to recover their loans from defaulters.

Three deaths due to alleged harassment of these loan apps were reported in Telangana including the death of a techie and a woman government employee.

The cyberbullying and online harassment of these online apps came to light after three people committed suicide.
When the Telangana Police raided two locations in Gurugram and three locations in Hyderabad they arrested 11 people there while 6 people were arrested during raids in Cyberabad by the Cyberabad Police.

Anjani Kumar, Hyderabad Police Commissioner said “Four companies hired around 1100 executives to run the multi-crore illegal businesses through which thousands of people were victimized across the country”.

Commissioner Cyberabad police, VC Sajjanar said that police had contacted banks and frozen 18 accounts of these companies operating the fraud app.

The companies operating the instant loan apps were registered in Bengaluru and identified as Hotful Technologies Private Ltd, Liufang Technologies Private Ltd, Nabloom Technologies Private Ltd, and Pinpoint Technologies.

The Cyber Crime Police Station recently lodged FIRs of 16 people who are victims of online harassment of these apps. The victims have alleged that the company has harassed them for a refund from the call centers they operate to manage the apps.

The locations police raided in Hyderabad and Gurugram were used as the call centers to persuade, harass, and to develop a sense of insecurity in the loan defaulters.

Important members and 11 heads of the call centers were arrested. The police commissioner said, “These callers took instructions from their heads in Indonesia. The entire operation of these loan apps appears to be run with Chinese nationals at the helm. This was also indicated during an investigation into the multi-crore color prediction gaming app scam where crores of rupees were transferred to shell companies which were registered as NBFCs”.

Around 700 laptops, servers, computer systems were seized from these call centers during the raids. Police are investigating further to find out about the web of financial transactions, funding, technology base of the companies.

The six people arrested by Cyberabad Police were connected with Cash Mama, Loan Zone, and Dhana Dhan loan apps. VC Sajjanar, Cyberabad Police Commissioner said these apps were connected with Onion Credit Private Ltd and Cred Fox Technologies Pvt Ltd.

The arrest made by cyber Crime police was based on the complaint lodged on 7 Dec in Cyber Crime police station of Cyberabad. In the complaint filed the victim alleged that the operators of instant loan apps were blackmailing and threatening him.

Around 110 employees work for the two offices of these two companies and the companies were in agreement with nine NBFCs and had around 1.5 lakhs customers among which 70,000 were active customers. The police said that the companies developed their own apps for maintaining the database of the customers. They placed the apps on Google Play Store for easy download

The nine NBCFs who were tied up with Cash Mama and Loan Zone apps have been sent notice by the police and a notice is also issued to Google’s Play store to take down these apps as they were involved in criminal activities.

With digitalization, such fraud cases are also increasing rapidly. Many people know about net banking but they lack the knowledge to keep their money secured, awareness programs on such topics are a necessity of the time.

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