Govt blocks Chinese loan apps: Over the last few years, Chinese loan apps have become a menace for Indians. The government has decided to ban them. After recommendation from the Home Ministry, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has banned 94 such loan apps. The Home Ministry analysed 288 such apps for six months and found that 94 loan-lending apps and 138 betting apps were stealing Indian data. They have been banned in accordance with Section 69 of the IT Act.
Kindness turns into extortion
These Chinese loan apps are sinister in their designs and operations. These apps cut through the bureaucratic maze of checks and balances to provide people with instant money. All they have to do is download the app and register with it. Interestingly, most of these Chinese loan apps do not even follow regulatory due diligence like KYC verification. In the heat of the economic crisis due to COVID-19, the victims could not cross-check terms and conditions.
What they do is promise instant relief in the form of short-term loans. The normal repayment period dangles between one week to a month. The shortened time period is their justification for charging 15-20 percent interest rates. The government found that the rate of interest for desperate people is as high as 3000 percent.
Blackmailing is the norm
The problem is not only interest. It is their modus operandi of payback that has led people to commit suicide. These Chinese loan apps are continuously snooping into phones, collecting call record data, and figuring out frequent call details.
When the consumer does not repay loans in time, they regularly call to harass them and use soft coercion. In the event that the loan is not paid back within one or two days, the person is subjected to social shame. Friends and relatives are called and given a detailed outlook on their financial condition. The final step is to make threat calls. The threat includes releasing the morphed photos to friends and family. The loanee is threatened that the recovery agent will take every drop of their blood to recover the money.
Their target audience consists primarily of the average jon doer (aged 24 to 37), the elderly, and even millennials. The Microsoft 2021 Global Tech Support Scam research report found out that, out of them, the millennial group is at the most risk. Earlier, an FIS study had also found the same. Time and again, precautions are published in various newspapers and websites, but not to much avail. As a result, the government has no choice but to ban. RBI’s study pinpoints at 600 such apps. More frequent such bans are need of the hour.
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