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Regulation needed to monitor money-lending applications: Experts

The apps which look legit offer short-term credits for a high interest but end up harassing the customer by accessing their contact list and sending unpleasant messages to their family and friends.

Published: 23rd December 2020 08:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd December 2020 08:05 AM   |  A+A-

Cyber Crime

For representational purposes

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Several digital lending applications that are unauthorised by financial regulators are available on Google Play Store. The apps which look legit offer short-term credits for a high interest but end up harassing the customer by accessing their contact list and sending unpleasant messages to their family and friends.

"I got a list of apps – all of which use the same Chinese white label provided app or server with names that are similar to popular Indian apps like Udhaar, FlipCash etc. One look at the privacy policy tells that all these are fake apps that are created with no legal entity, landing up on Play Store. The contact given for grievance officers are either fake or does not exist," says L Srikanth, a Fintech researcher who studied at least 10 such apps and his findings forced Google to remove them from Play Store.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Srikanth said, there will be some random company behind the application. A simple bank statement of the transaction will show the name of an entity which is not regulated under RBI. For example, for transaction from GetRupee application, the transaction in the bank statement will be some random private limited company, not the application name.

Sometimes through Google Pay. "In some cases, the application while receiving the bigger amount will ask you to download a third party application. This looks like an organised network since for a single money-lending application, there are different companies, most of them fake," says Srikanth.

"These apps are broadcasted as compulsory view advertisements in applications like RummyCircle, other gambling apps or sometimes in gaming apps which require customers to use money and in a few cases apps like TikTok," said a senior police officer.

Such applications provide us money within 10-15 minutes but demand us permit them in accessing contacts. "The applications saw the opportunity during lockdown when lots of people lost jobs," said Maharajan, SI Cyber Crime cell. On June 24, RBI on its part came up with a circular titled "Loans Sourced by Banks and NBFCs over Digital Lending Platforms: Adherence to Fair Practices Code and Outsourcing Guidelines".



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