If you like to borrow money from instant loan apps, you might want to reconsider your decision. Cyberabad Police in Telangana have dismantled an online instant loan scam run by a Chinese national. The man, identified as Zixia Zhang, has launched 11 instant loan applications under different names. These apps offer short term loans with high fees and interest rates. And if a person doesn’t pay back on time, call centers, set up by Zixia Zhang across the country, harass the borrower with abuse, threats, and even false legal advice to friends and family.
The scam was foiled on Friday when Cyberabad Police Cybercrime Unit raided a call center. The call center, “Cubevo Technology Private Limited”, is a subsidiary of “Skyline Innovations Technologies India Private Limited”, a company established by Zixia Zhang and Umapati Indian national in Gururgram, Haryana.
After the raid at the Cyberabad-based call center, police arrested four people, including a Chinese national. The two directors of the company, Zixia Zhang and Umapati, flee.
The four men arrested by Cyberabad police
Police say Zixia Zhang is the mastermind behind the entire operation. He and Delhi-based Umapati started a company “Digipeergo Tech Pvt Ltd” in December of last year. Over the next few months, they launched another company under the name “Skyline Innovations Technologies India Private Limited”.
With the help of a Singapore-based developer, the company has developed 11 instant loan applications that offer personal loans and collect huge repayments (including interest, processing fees, GST, default fees and after the loan period is over, they charge a penalty of 1%) and also resort to systematic abuse, harassment and threats of defaulters through call centers managed by them. They even blackmail borrowers by sending bogus legal opinions to loved ones and family members.
List of instant loan requests:
1) Gram of loan
2) Cash train
3) Cash bus
4) AAA silver
5) Super cash
6) mint cash
7) Good Cash
8) Loan card
9) Refund a
10) Piggy bank
11) Monkey box
These apps are developed in such a way that when installing these apps, they have access to contacts, mobile information and other data on the device. These apps collect proof of identity, PAN card, KYC documents and bank details from customers.
They verify the authenticity of documents and pay small amounts in the form of a loan to their bank accounts by debiting the processing fee and GST, which is 25 to 30 percent in advance. Loans are granted for seven days or 15 days.
After the due date, the company classifies clients into various compartments – S-0, S-1, S-2, S-3, M2, M3, X, etc. Customers with a lower bucket get decent treatment, but as the bucket category goes up the treatment becomes more severe. The company’s call centers abuse customers in foul language and threaten them with dire consequences. They even go so far as to access customer contacts from their phones and begin to abuse and threaten family members, relatives and friends with calls and messages.
They also blackmail innocent people by sending false legal notices. The pagers also suggest that the victims make the repayments by taking out loans on their other loan applications. The customer falls into their trap by taking loans from other loan applications as suggested by the pagers and ends up paying huge sums and gets stuck in an endless cycle.
Cyberabad Cybercrime Police Station has registered at least eight cases against these loan applications in the recent past. The call center raid was part of the investigation and further investigation is underway.
Police are also trying to determine whether or not these apps are related to an NBFC.
To protect yourself from such fraud, you must:
– Never download insta loan applications without checking their licenses issued by government authorities
– Go through the terms and conditions and check the licenses of companies offering loans and whether the licenses have been obtained from the relevant authorities such as RBI, District Collector.
– Never download an application that asks to give access to contacts, files, photo gallery, etc.