Agencies, ED to probe data theft by Chinese loan apps

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The Indian Intelligence agencies are looking for two Chinese nationals in the widespread instant loan taking app scam, which has led to suicides and huge amounts of data theft.“The trails of the data security breach led to China as the apps are of Chinese origin and are being reportedly run by Chinese, who under the garb of loan agencies, are stealing data from India,” said official sources.“The Research & Analysis Wing and the Intelligence Bureau have stepped in to monitor the investigation and track the crime to its source of origin,” said sources.

“The ED has also been pooled in to probe these cases in Bengaluru, Telangana, Pune, Gurugram and the NCR under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA),” added the sources.In Karnataka, the loan app fraud case is being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in which two people “who were managing the affairs of Borayanxy Technologies, which is a frontal company in Bengaluru, have been arrested. The operations of the raided companies are controlled from China,” said M D Sharath, Superintendent of Police, Cybercrime, CID.

The CID has raided four companies — Mad Elephant Technologies Pvt Ltd, Borayanxy Technologies Pvt Ltd, Profitise Pvt Ltd and Wizzpro Solutions Pvt Ltd --  after receiving complaints of harassment from customers who were being charged a whopping 36 per cent interest on the hand loans of Rs 9,000 and Rs 15,000. “We have seized 1,000 laptops and around 1,000 fake SIM cards and have frozen bank accounts of the accused companies. The quantum is yet to be ascertained,” he said.

“These loan taking apps were introduced a couple of years ago. They became a big hit this year because of the pandemic. Many people, who were rendered jobless and lost their businesses, have applied for instant loans through these apps, which have reportedly tied up with some Non-Banking Financial Companies in the NCR, which give loans at an exorbitant interest rate of 36 per cent. This also includes GST and service charges,” he added.

“The photo gallery of the app users has been hacked by the Chinese. When they were unable to service the loans, the backend managers of these apps and the companies formed a WhatsApp group of the contacts of the loanees and started threatening and abusing them. Personal photographs of girls were found in these WhatsApp groups. We have written to Google to block around 150 such loan apps to prevent further data breach,” added the SP.

The data theft came to light when four people ended their lives in Telangana. They had all taken instant loans using these apps. “The Hyderabad police, which first detected the fraud, have so far arrested 18 people and frozen Rs 90 crore in the bank accounts of the accused companies,” said Anjani Kumar, Police Commissioner, Hyderabad. Among those arrested in the case by the Telangana police in Pune is a Chinese woman -- Liang Tian who is married to Parshuram Lahu Takve. He is the director of a call centre in Koregaon Park in Pune. 



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