Loans followed by blackmail, threats and abuse | Delhi News

New Delhi: Neha (name changed), who was waiting for her salary to be paid, desperately needed money to pay her rent and other bills. She came across an app, DanaKredit or Cash Advance, and took out a loan. The following week, she received her salary and repaid the loan, oblivious to the horror that awaited her.
Her worst nightmare came true as even after repaying the loan amount, she started receiving threatening and abusive calls and WhatsApp messages from Cash Advance employees. The scammers used the profile picture of a senior police official to intimidate her into paying more money as “interest” and other charges. The scammers even sent him transformed and vulgar photographs to his family members, friends and relatives through social media.
Neha was among dozens of people harassed by this union. Organized by a Chinese national, these applications have led to the suicide and mental collapse of several people. Apps gained traction during the pandemic as they provided contactless service.
When investigation by DCP (Special Cell) KPS Malhotra and Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations Unit pointed to a foreign hand behind the syndicate, an alarmed Delhi Police Chief Rakesh Asthana called for a full technical investigation. .
Technical analysis of the app revealed that it is malicious and illegally obtains and transfers user details, contacts and photos to third party.
Money trails were established and funds were found to be transferred to a current bank account opened in the name of Balaji Technology. Further investigation revealed that Balaji Technology was a motorcycle repair shop. What was more shocking is that Rs 8.45 crore was credited to this account in just 15 days and simultaneously transferred to other accounts. This indicated a money laundering operation.
While scanning for malware, it was found that the Android app is taking permissions to install third party apps or malicious payload without user permission. “Cash Advance (DanaKredit) loan application has been classified as a Trojan or spyware, which collected confidential and personal information and was used for blackmail purposes. The application was connected to a server based in China by creating proxy connections in the Android device,” the report said.
The cops found three modules of this union at work. The first was the finance team, the other was the technical group, while the third was the extortion module. “The tech team developed the app and hosted it on Play Store. After tricking the victims, they sent their details to the extortion syndicate, who tracked down the victims and passed the baton to the team financial institution, which transferred the money to China, except for user data,” Malhotra said.
During installation, the app asked for permission to access the contact list, photo gallery, and other personal data. As soon as permission was granted, the loan applicant’s data was transferred to Chinese servers. Once this process is completed, the scammers immediately obtained the transfer of the loan amount. Users were offered low interest loans and assured that the amount was interest free for 90 days. But later the charges were increased daily.
A team of fraudsters were calling loan applicants and their relatives, friends, etc. using different mobile phone numbers to ask them to make payments. They would also share vulgar transformed photos with family members, relatives and friends of the loan seeker to intimidate them into paying more.

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