Parents beware! Loan sharks are now targeting children’s love of online games


Express press service

KOCHI: If online loan providers earlier targeted those affected by financial hardship during the Covid crisis, the same loan sharks these days are targeting children addicted to online games. The police and NGOs operating in the cybersecurity sector have received complaints about threatening calls received by children and parents from loan sharks asking to reimburse almost triple the amount charged for playing online games .

Jiyas Jamal, a Kochi-based IT law expert and founder of the NGO Cyber ​​Surekha Foundation, said he was involved in several cases in which children had become easy targets for online loan sharks. In many cases loan sharks mentally harass children in such a way that they find it difficult to concentrate on their studies.

“These days, I get several cases from parents of children who have been tricked by online loan sharks. Now children are using their parents’ cell phones more. In most cases, children are playing games online on parent’s phones.Similarly, parents share their online payment methods like credit/debit card, GPay and KYC details with their children.Online loan providers give 2,000 to 10,000 to play games online. Unlike loans from regular banks or NBFCs, these online loan providers do not require any documentation,” he said.

However, problems arise when repayment begins. Most online loan companies charge between 26% and 30% interest. Most online businesses calculate interest on a monthly basis. Apart from this, an additional fee will be required at the start of the refund.

“First of all, the majority of these online loan companies are not approved by RBI. An individual starts an application or a website, pays a small sum to a customer in the form of a loan and sets up a credit center. “calls to ensure reimbursement. From online defamation to fake FIR, they use all fraudulent methods to ensure that the customer pays the amount. Even many educated people are being duped by these online loan sharks,” he said. -he declares.

A Keralite working with a Bengaluru-based NGO was defamed last year by sharing her photo and mobile number on a social media website saying she was available for on-call service after failing to repay a loan of nearly 10,000 rupees which she had taken out in an emergency situation. on time. Similarly, a Kochi-based youth was defamed claiming he was charged in a sexual assault case after he failed to repay the loan.

A police Cyberdome officer said the majority of online loan providers are based in northern Indian states. In most cases, targets are attracted to small loan amounts offered by these providers.
“We receive complaints against online lending companies. We must learn that a majority of victims do not file a complaint because they are ashamed. In some cases, lenders show fake FIRs and complaints to the police to threaten them. They also threaten people with defamation on social media,” he said.

The police officer said loans should only be taken from banks and NBFCs approved by the RBI. There are guidelines set by RBI in case of loan default. “In most cases, online lending companies will not have appropriate addresses. When we trace their cell phone numbers and bank accounts, they turn out to be fake. Only good awareness will help people,” he said.

How it works
An individual starts an application or website, disburses a small amount as a loan to a customer, and sets up a call center to ensure repayment. From fake FIR to online defamation, they use every fraudulent method to make sure the customer pays back the loan.

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