Pune cyber police have arrested 18 people in the loan application harassment case. Up to 4,778 Punekars have filed complaints with Pune Cyber Police for harassment, threats and abuse by loan application officers since 2020.
Earlier, cyber police busted a loan app call center in Bengaluru in a case where loan app gang members attempted to extort a sum of ₹1.11 lakh from a female on Aug 16. Action is being taken against the syndicate of loan applications organized in the context of central government agencies headed by the Directorate of Law Enforcement (ED) taking strict action against groups that abuse and blackmail gullible citizens under the cover of instant loans. Cyberpolice seized nearly ₹69 lakh of these fraudsters in still ongoing operations to uncover the masterminds behind the scam.
Previously, Viignesh Manjunath, Ganesh Subbaraidu, Akash MV, Shraddha Sudhakar Gowda, Parvati Santosh Das, Ashwini D Murugan, Shilpa Subhash Gowda, Priya S and Deepika L – all residents of Bengaluru – were arrested by cyber police for extortion, fraud, defamation and bullying under the Information Technology (IT) Act. Today nine more people have been arrested including Syed Aquib Pasha, Mubarak Afroz Baig, Swapnil Hanumant Nagtilak, Srikrushna Bhimanna Gaikwad, Dhiraj Bharat Punekar, Pramod James Ransingh, Samuel Sampat Kumar, Mujeeb Baraband Kandiyal and Mohammad Maniyat.
Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “According to our assessment, around 1 lakh Punekars were harassed by loan application scammers during the year. The gang operates at a highly professional level and has dedicated teams to get the job done. One team operates at ground level while the other takes care of the bank accounts. There is a separate team for data collection and call center operations management. So far, two cases have been filed in the city and an average of 25 people have contacted police daily, complaining of harassment by loan application representatives over the past two months.
Informing the court about the modus operandi of these scammers, the police said that there are several lending apps available on “playstore” where people just have to download and agree to all the terms by allowing the apps to access their personal data. Loan providers charge a high interest rate and if someone does not repay or delays in doing so, the harassment begins with the loan application representatives calling or texting all the contacts of said nobody. These scammers have access to victims’ personal data, including contact lists, personal photos and videos. Even in cases where people do not benefit from loans, loan enforcement agents transform their images with obscene content and circulate among friends and family. They blackmail and extort money from the victims by asking them to credit the amount to various bank accounts through online transactions.