NOIDA: The cyber cell of the Noida Police arrested 12 people on Wednesday who were connected to a Chinese digital lending app that they used to trick and harass people into paying back 10 to 20 times the loan amount.
Abhishek Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell), said that the accused lent small amounts of Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 to people through the app. They would then threaten to share their objectionable morphed images, which would force them to pay back higher amounts.
He said that the call centre was set up in Noida’s Sector 63, where police found Rs 1.5 lakh in cash, 36 desktop computers, 15 laptops, eight smartphones, 135 SIM cards, and other items.
Police say that Punit Tuli, Mohd Afzal, Jitendra, Neeraj Lal, Shivam, Azeem, Aakash Srivastava, Sumit, Arun Singh, Siddharth Ojha, Rajnessh Jha, and Bharat are among those who have been arrested. The gang’s leader, Tuli, knew a Chinese man named Dave and that the app’s server was in China.
Recently, the Noida Police had been getting reports of fraud involving Chinese load apps. People said that their morphed photos and videos were being used to threaten them. The cyber cell and the Noida Sector 63 police station worked on the cases and busted the call centre called Marvel Entertainment.
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“They called up people who had borrowed money from the app, and if they were slow to pay it back, they showed them their morphed pictures and videos to try to get them to pay them money,” the officer said.
The police said that the names of some more companies that have worked in different parts of Delhi NCR in the past or still do have come to light.
The officer advised people not to borrow money from digital lending apps because there are more and more cases of fraud and extortion through them.
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He also told people not to use loan apps like Freecash, Mastermelon, Cashon, LoanEase, CrediPay, RupeeStar, EasyCredit, MartRupee, and TruBalance.
Verma said, “I urge people who use loan apps to get loans of Rs 4,000 or Rs 5,000 to stop doing that and instead use real banks that are regulated by the RBI.”
“This is because when you get a loan from one of these apps, all the information from your phone, like pictures, contacts, emails, and calendars, goes to these people,” Verma said. “This gives them a chance to blackmail you for money.”
Police have filed a First Information Report (FIR) under Indian Penal Code sections 420 (cheating), 34 (acts done by multiple people with the same goal in mind), 120B (part of a criminal plot), and the Information Technology Act.
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