The Mumbai Criminal Police Cyber Police have arrested three people as part of their probe into 21 cases of loan application fraud recorded in the city this year.
While the first arrest took place on June 25, police arrested two more people on Monday. On Saturday, a loan collector from Telangana was arrested. “The man holds an engineering degree and was responsible for phoning those who had not paid the loan amounts. If the loans did not repay, the man would ask his helpers to start the harassment. Based on his interrogation, we arrested two other people. Our investigations are ongoing,” said DCP (Cyber) Hemraj Singh Rajput.
According to the police, since last year, thousands of people across Maharashtra in need of urgent cash have fallen prey to these predatory loan apps which allegedly offer small loans without too much paperwork. When issuing loans through the app, lenders asked borrowers to access their phone contact list and gallery and collected their copies of Aadhaar and PAN cards, police said.
Borrowers who failed to repay the loan within weeks with a higher interest rate were reportedly harassed by loan collectors and abusive and obscene messages were reportedly sent to people on the lender’s contact list. ‘borrower. They even transformed photos of the borrower into nude photos and obscene videos and sexually harassed them and their family members to extort money, police said. In many cases, police say, officers ended up extorting far more than the loan amount.
Police took note of the issue when a 38-year-old business executive took his own life at his home in Kurar, Malad (East) due to harassment in May this year. Subsequently, several other victims also alerted the police to the fact that they were being harassed. Acknowledging the increase in crime, at least 21 cases between January and May were transferred to cyberpolice. About 10 police inspectors in four cyberpolice stations in the cybercrime branch investigate the cases to find a common thread.