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Government’s Vigorous Crackdown: Over 2500 Fake Loan Apps Removed from Google Play Store



Exposed: 18 Deceptive Loan Apps Swindle Over 12 Million Users on Google Play

NEW DELHI: In a recent update to the Parliament, the government disclosed its intensive efforts in combating fraudulent loan apps, revealing that tech giant Google had scrutinized and removed over 2500 deceptive loan lending applications from its Play Store between April 2021 and July 2022.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, responding in writing to the Lok Sabha’s inquiry about measures to counter the escalating risks associated with fake loan apps, highlighted the collaborative efforts between the government, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and other pertinent regulators and stakeholders. She emphasized the consistent vigilance exercised during Financial Stability and Development Council meetings, chaired by the finance minister, to address this critical issue.

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Sitharaman underscored Google’s revamped policy concerning loan lending apps on the Play Store. This updated policy mandates that only apps either published by regulated entities or working in tandem with regulated entities are permissible on the platform.

Moreover, the minister mentioned the proactive role played by the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (14C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs. This body routinely scrutinizes digital lending apps, employing various parameters and investigating suspicious apps reported on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal. Once identified, these suspicious apps are reported to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for blocking.

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In tandem with these actions, the RBI has taken several measures to fortify cybersecurity and enhance financial literacy. Initiatives like the electronic-banking awareness programme (e-BAAT) concentrate on fraud awareness, while efforts are underway to develop a financial education framework within schools. Additionally, the RBI conducts financial literacy weeks as part of its comprehensive strategy.

Furthermore, the government has intensified its outreach efforts to raise awareness about cyber-crime through diverse communication channels such as SMS, radio campaigns, and social media. Handbooks tailored for different audience segments are also published to disseminate crucial information.

FM Sitharaman stressed the active contribution of the Ministry of Home Affairs in organizing cyber safety and security awareness weeks, collaborating closely with states and union territories to bolster these initiatives.


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