Besides these 40 apps, law enforcement officials have identified another 220 apps against which evidence is still being collected.
Harassment by loan collectors hired by these instant loan apps has even led to suicides as the officers defame the loanees to recover the loan. Debt collectors, in their last ditch effort to recover money from lenders, have begun extorting money by turning photographers from defaulting lenders.
According to sources among the victims and also within the police, TOI discovered that the representatives of the loan applications for the past two months had resorted to transforming the photographs of the defaulters with a label like “rapist” or “bikari no 1 or declaring them dead, in addition to using foul language. These transformed photos are sent to different people on the defaulters’ contact list and post them on social media, while asking them to return the money at the request of a lender.
A victim who resides in LB Nagar applied for a loan of 5000 and the instant loan app credited 3000 with an agreement to return the money in seven days. But, this was the 4th day, the loan application representatives demanded to return the money.
“When the victim said he had three days left, recovery workers created a transformed image of the victim with a minor with a tag alleging that the victim raped the girl. It was also shared with a few members of his contact list. Unable to bear this humiliation, the shaken victim refunded the money,” Rajasekhar, an engineer to whom the victim shared his experience, told TOI on Thursday.
Another victim said he received several audio cuts, where a woman used objectionable language asking him to return the money, which he had already paid.
Speaking to TOI, Gajarao Bhupal, Deputy Commissioner of Police Hyderabad (CCS), said, “Hyderabad Police will write a letter to Google to remove 40 illegitimate instant loan apps. In the past, Google removed more than 200 instant loan apps from the Play Store at the request of the police. Harassment by these apps has led to the suicide of at least six people in the past.