Hyderabad: Days after three persons committed suicide, Telangana police have issued an advisory asking people not to download money-lending applications.
Police said most of the apps are not registered by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and these are being used by unscrupulous elements to harass gullible people.
Three persons - Eddu Sravan Yadav, 23 from Narsapur in Medak district, Kirni Mounika, 28, from Siddipet and Sunil, 29, from Kismatpur in Rajendranagar – ended their lives in separate incidents for the last one month.
Police asked people not to download any loan-based application as most of them were exploitative. "Do not give your personal details, Aadhaar, or bank details. Do not give access to all the permissions to these loan Apps," the police advised.
"People should not accept the terms and conditions of any loan App. They should be more cautious as all the phone contacts, photos, locations, and phone memory will be compromised by these money lenders and can be used to harass or blackmail later," police said.
Police said people should call the cops if they receive abusive, threatening, and harassing calls
"There are at least 60 such loan applications available in Google Play Store. These Apps are run by certain names that are not registered or recognized by the RBI as an NBFC. Therefore, their operations are completely unlawful," police said.
Police said the hosting of these Apps also violates certain conditions laid by Google App store. Google can be asked to remove these Apps. "Almost all Apps have similar privacy policies that gather almost every bit of data available on users' phone, thus violating users' privacy in every manner," the police advisory said.
Under Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011, all the intermediaries, the apps, in this case, are supposed to provide names of their grievance officer along with contact details. In almost all these apps, the details provided are fictitious.
"Calling up friends and relatives is violative of Rule 3(2) of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011 as well. All the apps have an uncanny commonality in their methods. They appear to be built upon one software development kit (SDK), which is suspected to be provided by a foreign country," police said.
The public can report harassment to the police and verify with the RBI's website about the genuineness of an NBFC, which is purportedly being represented by the App.