KOCHI: Another case of a loan app fraud was reported in Kochi as a youngster, who availed a small amount recently, was threatened in multiple ways. The Kochi Cyber Police have registered a case following a complaint lodged by a 20-year-old Cyber Police native. They said the victim took a loan of Rs 11,000 from an app named ‘Gold Cash’ in January.
“After six days from receiving the money, the youth started getting constant messages and calls demanding him to repay the amount. As he could not pay, they started threatening him through messages. After a few weeks, the lender started to send abusive messages. When he did not budge, they started sending him his morphed photographs. The same was also sent to his friends. Later, they threatened him by saying they would send the photos to others in his contact list,” a police officer said.
The case was registered under IPC section 506 of criminal intimidation, IT Act section 66(e) for violation of privacy and Kerala Police Act 120(o) for causing a nuisance by repeated, undesirable or anonymous calls, letters, writing, messages and e-mails. Earlier this month, the police had registered a case against another loan app named ‘Cash Advance’ which threatened a Rajasthan native working in Kochi. Though the victim paid the amount, he continued to receive obscene messages asking for more.
Following the rise in such incidents, the Kochi City Police have started spreading awareness messages via Facebook. On June 15 and 16, the police issued a detailed write-up on its Facebook page against installing unauthorised loan apps on their phones. Kochi City Police Deputy Commissioner V U Kuriakose said the issue has turned out to be a major menace and the people should be cautious against these fraudsters.
“The money gets credited into the people’s account just by downloading these applications even if they don’t borrow. Later, they are asked to repay more than double the amount which is credited. The fraudsters get access to all other apps installed on the victim’s phone once they download the app. If the money is not paid, they start threatening in the name of morphed photographs,” he said.
“If any threatening messages or calls are received, the victim should tell the fraudsters that they would reach out to the cops. In a majority of cases, once the police case is registered, threats cease,” he said.
Though the probe of such cases is complex, the police have traced many culprits behind such incidents.
“Mostly the fraudsters use fake bank accounts for this purpose. The people, whose names the culprits have been using, won’t even know such an account exists in their name. The roots of such cases are based in North Indian villages which it is carried out by organised groups. Coordination with other state police is often required to crack such cases,” he added.