A 24-year-old woman from Charkop went through the horror of loan app scam and ended up losing Rs. 4.5 lakh in the name of loan repayment which she never availed. The fraudsters threatened to defame her before family and friends and extorted Rs. 4.5 lakh in the span of 14 days. When she was left with no money and stopped payment, the fraudster circulated her photograph and number as a prostitute among her family members. The Charkop police which has launched an investigation suspects it's a handiwork of a syndicate as the woman was harassed by almost nine different loan apps.
On March 30, the woman received a WhatsApp (WA) message from an online loan app informing her that her loan repayment is overdue and repay it at the earliest. The woman who never heard of the app before replied that she had never taken the loan.
Soon she received similar WA messages from different numbers informing her that loan repayment is due. At least eight other such apps claimed that she had taken loan from them and her payment is due. Some of them even threatened, if she didn't pay they will circulate her obscene photographs among her friends and relatives.
The woman had indeed taken a loan of Rs. 5, 000 in August last year from another app with the last date of repayment on April 18. While taking the loan she allowed access of her contact list to the app, it was through this, the recovery agents have her contact list and used it to threaten her, said Charkop police.
Feared getting defamed, the woman agreed to pay and transfer Rs. 6,500 to one app however that was just the beginning. The others too started to threatened her to circulate her obscene photographs and extorted total Rs 4.5 lakh in mere 14 days. The woman who is in the accounts department of a private company at Andheri arranged the money from her family and friends saying she was in dire need of it.
On Tuesday the woman pleaded to them that she had nothing left and switched off her phone when the harassment didn't stop. It was then her friends and family members started receiving WA messages that the woman had taken the loan from apps and not repaying it. That was not the end, the recovery agents even shared her photograph with her sister, calling the victim a 'prostitute' with her contact number below the photograph.
The matter came to light only when her family members and friends reached out to her after receiving the messages and after learning about it advised her to approach the police. When her friends and family members contacted the purported recovery agents to stop harassing her even they faced abuses.
To make it look legitimate, some apps even transferred money in her account, however, our probe has reveled that the woman never applied for it and the money was transferred in order to extort more money from her, making it an offense, said an officer from Charkop police station.
The police have registered an offense of under the section for cheating, defamation and criminal intimidation along with a relevant section of Information Technology act and began their probe.