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22 held for extorting Rs 500 crore via 100 loan apps; sending user details to China

According to the police, the gang based out of a call centre in Lucknow used the applications to provide small amounts of loan. The gang would then call the users from different numbers and extort money threatening that their morphed nude pictures would be uploaded on the internet if they failed to heed to the demand.

22 held for extorting Rs 500 crore via 100 loan apps sending user details to China gcw
First Published Aug 21, 2022, 3:05 PM IST

Twenty-two people have been arrested from across the country for their involvement in a Rs 500 crore instant loan-cum-extortion racket that was operated by Chinese nationals.  A senior police official claimed that more than 100 programmes were utilised in the scam to acquire the user's private data, which was subsequently uploaded to servers in China and Hong Kong.

The Delhi Police made the arrests following a review of the two-month-long gang operation. According to police officials, the network was widespread throughout the states of Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and others.

The authorities said that a group operating out of a Lucknow contact centre utilised the apps to loan people modest sums of money. The loan money would be deposited to the user's account within minutes after they downloaded the programmes and gave them authorization, according to the police.

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The gang would then phone the individuals using various numbers obtained with bogus identification to demand money, the police claimed, while threatening to post the users' modified naked photographs online if they did not comply.

The customers used to pay the money, which was afterwards transported to China through hawala or after buying cryptocurrencies, because of social shame and fear, the police officer claimed. Each of the accounts that the gang reportedly utilised got more than Rs 1 crore every day.

Cash Port, Rupee Way, Loan Cube, Wow Rupee, Smart Wallet, Giant Wallet, Hi Rupee, Swift Rupee, Walletwin, Fishclub, Yeahcash, Im Loan, Growtree, Magic Balance, Yocash, Fortune Tree, Supercoin, and Red Magic have been recognised as the applications. The police were able to collect at least 51 mobile phones, 25 hard drives, nine computers, 19 debit/credit cards, three cars, and 4 lakh in cash.

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They admitted after questioning that they were under the control of Chinese people. The servers in that nation delivered all the information on the recoveries. A few Chinese nationals' identities have been established, and searches are being conducted to find and apprehend them.

The operators have been moving their recovery call centres to Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh since the crackdown. The police said, "So far, the Chinese nationals have stolen more than 500 crore."

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