The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing has initiated action against online loan apps after 42-year-old individual from Rawalpindi committed suicide.
According to the details, he deceased individual took a loan of Rs. 22,000 but when he was unable to pay back the amount within the given timeframe, representatives from the loan app started threatening him.
The deceased was a married man with two children and an audio message has also suffered in which he details the reason for taking such a harsh step.
In response to the suicide incident, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has started a crackdown on these online loan applications. An FIA spokesperson confirmed that an operation was conducted at two loan app offices, which are situated in Islamabad’s Sector G-8, and they were searched and shut down.
Furthermore, the FIA’s team also confiscated laptops and computers from the loan app offices.
The FIA is now working with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to gather information on illicit loan apps in order to take additional measures against any of these apps involved in unlawful practices.
Moreover, the FIA has requested the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block these unlawful loan applications as well as take steps to curb the online advertisements connected to these loan apps.
It is pertinent to mention that several loan apps use heavy online advertisement to attract individuals by stating very simple and manageable payment terms. However, the reality is very different and once the loan is approved and transferred, the individual is asked to pay hefty amount in interest, which becomes unmanageable.
Furthermore, once an individual installs and opens the loan app on their phone, it automatically gets their private data, including contact information, personal pictures and videos. If the individual taking out the loan through one of these loan apps fails to make a timely payment, representatives of these loan apps call the individual and threaten or blackmail him/her with their private data.
In some instances, these loan apps also call the individual’s contacts.
The FIA has urged victims of these online loan apps to lodge complaints against them with the Cybercrime Wing and report any incidents of blackmail or other forms of abuse.