google: Maharashtra: Google asked to remove 69 loan apps for harassment | Bombay News

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Cyber, the state’s nodal authority for cybercrime investigations, has received more than 1,900 complaints about online lending apps since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic in 2020.
The authority recently sent a notice to Google’s US office asking it to remove 69 apps suspected of using unethical practices to recover money from borrowers.
“We are still dealing with around 1,130 complaints,” said Sanjay Shintre, Superintendent of Police, Maharashtra Cyber. “At least 3,76 requests processed to date relate to harassment by loan collectors with a threat to transform the borrower’s photo with objectionable content.”
Spoofing apps charge exorbitant interest for processing instant loans and use borrowers’ confidential data, such as contacts or photos, to blackmail them.
Among the complainants is a Mumbai woman who said she was harassed by several loan apps for collecting money using international phone numbers.
She said the apps gained unauthorized access to her phone and email, fraudulently accessed her PAN and Aadhaar card data and also attempted to withdraw money from her bank account. In a case from Osmanabad, the plaintiff applied for a loan from an online application and was charged money for the approval. But the application would not disburse the loan.
One of the app maintainers then instructed the complainant to download “Any Desktop” and was granted remote access to his phone and personal information.
Among the list of apps that Maharashtra Cyber ​​has sent to Google for removal are Cash Advance, Kosh, Yes Cash, Handy Loan and Mobile Cash. Contacted, Google did not comment. Cybercrime investigator Ritesh Bhatia said platforms that offer to download malicious apps cannot escape liability.
“There are user reviews on these platforms that indicate in black and white that they have been harassed. Can’t platform management see these reviews and remove the apps on their own? Why wait for the most vulnerable people to be victimized? ” he said.
Maharashtra Cyber ​​registered an FIR against a single app, but said the probe lifts details that could lead to a bigger crackdown. He also forwarded three complaints to the police in Thane and Mira-Bhayander based on which FIRs were registered against loan collectors there. “The police must do everything possible to end the harassment and register the FIRs quickly,” Bhatia said.

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