Cashing in on post-pandemic financial distress

Desperate to tide over crisis, many fall prey to dubious players

Updated - July 15, 2022 05:09 pm IST

Published - July 15, 2022 01:16 pm IST - VIJAYAWADA

The post-pandemic days came in handy for many online loan app firms as financial distress due to loss of jobs, business and revenue forced many people to look for some financial support to tide over the crisis.

The lenders, operating through online apps, offered loans just by collecting the Aadhaar and phone numbers. However, in many instances, they called the customers within a few days and demanded repayment, a police officer says.

“The app organisers, who operate from Delhi and some northern States, speak in Hindi. They use unparliamentary language and insult the borrowers, their family members and friends, whose phone numbers are collected from the social media contact lists,” alleges a victim.

“We don’t know that my brother has taken a loan through an app. The app firm employees called us around midnight and spoke abusively. We were scared to answer the calls,” laments a woman from East Godavari district.

“Taking advantage of the unemployment problem, closing of some industries and establishments due to losses, some gangs are operating online loan apps offering small loans to people and are harassing them for repayment,” says another police officer.

Unable to bear the harassment meted out by a loan app, 26-year-old Kona Satish reportedly committed suicide by lying on the railway tracks at Bhimavaram in West Godavari district, a few days ago.

A native of Kadiyam in East Godavari district, Satish had been working in a private company in Bhimavaram.

“Satish resorted to suicide at Srungavruksham village by lying on the tracks on the Bhimavaram-Narsapuram section on June 25,” inspector of Railway Police, Bhimavaram, S. Bhaskar tells The Hindu.

The victim’s father K. Srinivas says they are unaware of any loan taken by Satish through an app. After his death, the app organisers are sending messages and making calls demanding repayment. “They have sent insulting messages to my son’s friends and relatives,” he adds.

The family members have lodged a complaint with the Kadiyam police.

In some cases, loan app gangs are harassing the customers after repayment of loan on the pretext that a partial amount and interest is due, allege victims.

Persons having suicidal tendencies may ‘Dial 100’ for help.

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