Scammers shame him by circulating altered photos among friends and relatives
Mandya: There has been a steady increase in cases of cyber crime fraud. In yet another incident, a civil engineer from KR Pet in Mandya was deceived, harassed and subjected to illegal extortion of money by agents of an instant loan app. The victim filed a complaint with the Economic Cybercrime and Narcotics (CEN) Police Station in Mandya.
Civil Engineer (name omitted on request) got loan of Rs. 5,000 for urgent need from instant loan application. But he ended up paying Rs. 19.46 lakh in four months due to constant harassment from enforcement officers.
Instant loan apps are attacking digital ecosystems by promising quick cash to those running from pillar to pillar for a new job or to earn quick cash to meet sudden expenses. These apps send out hundreds of promotional text messages, emails and social media posts daily, offering instant loans without having to leave home.
Agents use Telegram, WhatsApp and Facebook to contact their targets and ask them to download the company’s app for verification. The program recovers phone data as soon as it is downloaded, including contacts, social media chats, and photos.
In his complaint, the civil engineer said he applied for a loan on January 15 through the loan app “RupeeWay” and the officers promised that he could repay the rupees. 5,000 loan in 180 easy installments. Attracted by the offer, the civil engineer accepted the terms and conditions blindly and shared his personal data for “approval”.
After receiving the so-called approval, the engineer was asked to repay the loan within 7 days and he paid Rs. 5,400 on January 17 and breathed a sigh of relief. But the harassment did not stop.
Access contact data
When applying for instant loans on mobile phone apps, all of the applicants’ personal data went to the defendants’ company, which they then used to harass people who failed to repay the loans.
The accused transformed obscene images of the victims who failed to repay their loans or failed to pay interest and disseminated them to their friends and family members.
The same thing happened in the case of the civil engineer where his contacts were consulted and he was blackmailed. “I was threatened by the officers to transform my photos and send them to my friends and contacts on WhatsApp. I feared for honor and paid Rs. 13,429 on January 18,” said the engineer to the police in his complaint.
“I had never applied for a loan so I thought of trying the loan apps. I found five apps and applied for a loan for one of them. When I checked the interest rate later, I was shocked. And that’s when the nightmare started when I accepted a loan offer from one of the apps,” the engineer told the police.
Surprisingly, the money paid by the engineer to the loan app never reflected on the screen and he was forced to click on other apps that promised similar loans. He also borrowed from these apps to repay the loan originally taken out. By the end of April, the engineer had paid a total of rupees. 19,46,049 and he had to borrow money from his friends and family members to escape harassment.
Photos morphed for blackmail
The engineer was threatened with defamation if he did not repay the loan amount. Subsequently, many people in his family and circle of friends received a naked photo with his face transformed saying that he had taken out a loan and was not returning it. The photo was sent from different numbers.
“I started getting frantic messages and calls from my family and friends on my contact list about the nude photos they had received. The scammers had taken a photo of my face and had it superimposed on someone else’s body to blackmail me. I also received several photos of my relatives and friends obscenely altered. My friends were told that I had sent these photos, “said the civil engineer to the police.