Pune: There has been an increase in the number of instantaneous mortgage apps on the Android Play Store, which were created for the specific purpose of financial fraud.
Pune cyber cell officials said the number of complaints related to mortgage scams increased significantly in 2021 and 2022, with 928 and 319 complaints, respectively. In an interview with TOI, a Pune cyber crime cell official said, “These cases have been increasing since last year, especially in the last three to four months.”. Since 2022 began, over 300 complaints have been filed. Apps that promise a higher loan amount should be avoided by citizens because less than the promised amount ends up in the customer’s account. Employees of the app start forcing victims to refund the money within a few days, sometimes using abusive language. Downloading such apps is a risk.”
In addition, the official said these apps do not have permission to provide mortgages, so they are doing so illegally.
A digital forensic investigator at Pune-based SC Cyber Solutions, Shweta Chawla, recently stumbled upon a case where an individual took an Rs1,000 loan on such an app, then was blackmailed into repaying the loan.
“The victim took out a loan for 5 days at 30% interest. “The app offered him a rollover of another five days after the five days ended if he paid Rs700 more,” said Chawla.
The sufferer later received a message on WhatsApp from an individual claiming to work for the micro-loan app. He was then pressured to pay the remainder and interest, amounting to nearly Rs900,” she said.
When he refused, the conversation became abusive and threatening.
“Initial investigations revealed that the victim was contacted on WhatsApp by a worker at a construction site. Because he did not have a smartphone, he did not have WhatsApp. Because money was transferred via the app, the victim had no idea from where the money came or where it was deposited.