If you like to borrow money from instant loan apps then you might want to reconsider. Police in Telangana’s Cyberabad has busted an online instant loan scam run by a Chinese national. The man, identified as Zixia Zhang, has launched 11 instant loan apps from various names. These apps offer short duration loans with hefty charges and interest rates. And if a person fails to repay on time, the call centres, set up by Zixia Zhang across the country, harass the borrower with abuses, threats and even fake legal notices to friends and family.
The scam was busted on Friday when the Cyberabad police’s cybercrime cell raided a call centre.
The call centre, “Cubevo Technology Private Limited”, is a subsidiary of “Skyline Innovations Technologies India Private Limited” a company set up by Zixia Zhang and an Indian national Umapati in Gururgram, Haryana.
After the raid at the Cyberabad-based call centre, the police arrested four people, including a Chinese national. The two directors of the company, Zixia Zhang and Umapati, are absconding.
The four men arrested by Cyberabad police
According to police, Zixia Zhang is the mastermind behind the entire operation. He and Delhi-based Umapati started a company “Digipeergo Tech Pvt Ltd” in December last year. In the next few months, they launched another company by the name of “Skyline Innovations Technologies India Private Limited”.
With the help of a Singapore-based developer, the company developed 11 Instant loan applications that offer loans to individuals and collect huge repayments (including interest, processing charges, GST, default charges and once the loan period is over they charge 1 per cent penalty) and also resort to systematic abusing, harassing, threatening of the defaulters through call centers run by them. They even blackmail the borrowers by sending fake legal notices to their relatives and family members.
List of Instant Loan Applications:
1) Loan Gram
2) Cash Train
3) Cash Bus
4) AAA Cash
5) Super Cash
6) Mint Cash
7) Happy Cash
8) Loan Card
9) Repay One
10) Money Box
11) Monkey box
These applications are developed in such a way that on installing these apps they get access to the contacts, mobile information and other data on the device. These applications collect the Id proofs, PAN card, KYC documents, and bank account details of the customers.
They check the genuineness of the documents and disburse small amounts in the form of a loan to their bank accounts by debiting the processing charges and GST ie, 25-30 per cent in advance. Loans are given for either seven days or 15 days.
After the due date, the company categorises the customers into various buckets – S-0, S-1, S-2, S-3, M2, M3, X etc. The customers in a lower bucket get a decent treatment but as the bucket category goes up the treatment gets harsher. The call centres of the company abuse the customers in filthy language and threaten them with dire consequences. They even go to the extent of accessing the contacts of the customers from their phone and start abusing and threatening the family members, relatives and friends with calls and messages.
They also blackmail innocent people by sending fake legal notices. Telecallers also suggest victims make the repayments by taking loans from their other loan applications. The customer falls into their trap by taking loans in the other loan applications as suggested by telecallers and end up paying huge amounts and get stuck in a never-ending cycle.
The Cyber Crime Police Station, Cyberabad has registered at least eight cases against these loan applications in the recent past. The raid at the call centre was part of the investigation and further probe is on.
The police are also trying to ascertain if these applications are linked to any NBFC or not.
To protect yourself from such frauds you must:
– Never download any insta loan apps without verifying their licenses issued by government authorities
– Go through the terms and conditions and verify the licenses of the companies that are offering loan and whether the licenses have been obtained from the concerned authorities like RBI, District Collector.
– Never download any app that asks to give access to the contacts, files, photo gallery, etc.