Mushroomed instant loan apps are proving to be the new debt trap

Hyderabad: A 24-year-old woman is believed to have committed suicide at her home in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh on Monday. In a message recorded before the extreme move, she said she owed an instant loan app some money and her collection agents harassed her into repeating the amount and threatened to post her morphed nudes online and send them to her to send to relatives. The victim described her ordeal in a video captured in selfie mode.

The number of instant loan apps is increasing, trapping many people across the country. Some of the apps used in the state are, according to various FIRs, Ocean Rupee, Life Wallet, Maloo Wallet, Elephant Cash, Box Cash, and Dutta Rupee, those of Chechaoping (a Chinese citizen), Creditbus, Clear Loan (Dynamic loan, pocket lending, easy loan, Finfarm, Fast Rupee, Rupee Now, Credit Star), Credit King, Express Loans, Money Stand, Infinity Cash, Cash Bee, APna Paisa, Quality Cash

In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh alone, several people have ended their lives claiming harassment from recovery agents employed by these lending apps, according to police. These loan apps target small business owners, low-wage workers and housewives who have lost their income due to Covid. They would advertise on Facebook that they give instant loans with no guarantees at very low interest rates, easily attracting people who need money.

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However, when they cannot repay their loans with daily interest, the torture begins. According to investigators, the operators of the loan app threaten customers to defame them in front of their friends and family if they don’t return the full amount.

Her usual modus operandi is to threaten female customers to alter their photos and share them with their family members and friends. Many women who cannot withstand this pressure commit or attempt suicide. According to local police records, many such incidents have taken place in Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Guntur in the past two years.

In December 2020, police raided multiple locations across Hyderabad after at least three people died over alleged credit app harassment. It was discovered that this mafia operated an extensive network and call center employing 600 people in Hyderabad. After the Hyderabad incident, police conducted raids across the country and arrested 17 people in various locations. In May 2022, six cases were reported in Hyderabad.

The Telangana government has expressed concern about the instant loan apps. Last year, 61 cases were registered in Telangana. The number has increased many times over this year, and the police have already received 900 complaints. So far 107 cases have been registered. The Telangana government has asked the Reserve Bank of India to set up an organized system to regulate these apps.

(With contributions from ABP Desam – It’s a Telugu platform by ABP News. More news, commentary and latest events from two Telugu countries to come

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