How can you save yourself from dangerous loan apps?

As the harassment from loan apps increased, many of their victims started taking to the internet to voice their woes.

Gautam S. MengleUpdated: Saturday, June 18, 2022, 09:27 AM IST
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Attention! Simple search can save you from malicious loan apps | Photo: Representative Image

As scores of people continue to fall prey to the ever growing menace of loan apps and the harassment tactics of their recovery agents, cybercrime officials say that a basic search on the internet before installing an app might go a long way in ensuring your safety.

As the harassment from loan apps increased, many of their victims started taking to the internet to voice their woes. Over time, discussion forums and social media pages on several such apps were started, where people started sharing their plight. Today, there exist forums or pages for most such apps which have been found to use illegal means like intimidation and sextortion to make the victims pay up.

“It is always a good practice to do a basic internet search for the name of any loan app before installing it. A lot of information about the antecedents of the app's agents is freely available online, which comes directly from the victims,” said Additional Director General of Police Madhukar Pandey, Maharashtra Cyber.

He added that while this step itself can save a lot of people a lot of trouble, there is also a second step where customers looking for quick loans could look for red flags: the permissions sought by an app.

“Any app which seeks permission to your contacts list or media files should immediately be uninstalled. It pays to keep in mind that a bank, while granting you a loan, only asks for your details, not your family or friends. The same principle is applicable here and should be kept in mind,” Pandey said.

Officials said that this stage is a very important one, as it is only when loan app agents gain access to your contacts and photos do they get the ammunition to blackmail you at a later stage. Every tactic employed by the agents makes use of this information taken from the victims' phones.

Customers can also check if a loan app claims to have certification from a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC), and then cross-check the same on the concerned NBFC's website. The complete absence of any such certification, of course, should be an alarm bell.

“It also helps to check the reviews of each app on the online platform where it is hosted. Besides, another rule that one can follow is to check how old the app is. The longer it has been in circulation, the more trustworthy it can be regarded. The ones that have mushroomed over the recent months are the ones to watch out for,” Pandey said.

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