The Promise vs The Reality
Instant loans scam have become increasingly popular in India, offering quick and easy access to money. However, the reality behind these loans is much darker. In the last three years, over 60 Indians have tragically taken their own lives after being abused or blackmailed by loan apps.
The Trap is Set
The scam starts with a seemingly innocent message stating that you have been approved for an instant loan. All you need to do is download the app, accept the terms and conditions, and the money is yours. Little do you know, you have already fallen into a trap. The app starts extracting all your personal information, including your ID cards, photos, and contact details of your family, colleagues, and friends.
The Extortion Begins
Once the loan app has your personal information, the extortion begins. Relentless harassment, threats, and blackmail subject victims to such torment. Bumi Sina, one victim, shared her harrowing experience of enduring 30 to 40 calls a day after borrowing from multiple loan apps. In her case, the app Assan Loan went to the extreme of photoshopping her face onto explicit images and sending them to everyone in her contact list.
Punam Agrawal, an investigative reporter, embarked on a mission to uncover the truth behind these loan app scams. It was a difficult task as most victims were too ashamed to speak up. However, she managed to connect with Rohan, a former employee of a loan recovery call center. Who was willing to share his insights.
Inside the Call Center
Rohan agreed to wear a secret camera and take Agrawal inside a call center operated by the Cflex Corporation, responsible for recovering money for various loan apps. The recordings revealed the brazen tactics used by the call center employees when borrowers failed to repay their loans on time.
Unmasking the Scammers
While Agrawal and Rohan were getting closer to exposing the truth, they faced challenges in identifying the masterminds behind the loan app scams. Eventually, they discovered that many of the apps were owned by Chinese investors. After much investigation, they traced the developer of the Assan Loan app to DK Sky Tech and its founder, Param Takway, who was facing criminal charges for extortion.
A Global Operation
The Instant Loans scam extended far beyond India. Param Takway and his Chinese wife, Liang Tian Tian, were running multiple businesses involved in recovering money for predatory loan apps. These apps were supported by two Chinese-owned companies, and the money trail led to a mysterious businessman named Leang. Though Leang kept himself hidden, his connection to the scam was undeniable.
Exploiting the Misery of Others
Leang’s companies controlled operations from Hong Kong and exploited the contacts of Indian borrowers to recover loans. This revelation confirmed that innocent people were being used and victimized for financial gain. The scam relied on extortion, intimidation, and fear to extract money from vulnerable individuals.
Exposing the Industry
Rohan, the insider, played a crucial role in uncovering the true workings of this industry. His bravery in coming forward and sharing his experiences shed light on the dark underbelly of the instant loan business. However, even with the exposure, the scam continues. Assan Loan, the app operated by Param Takway, is still trading and destroying lives.
The Road to Recovery
One year after the investigation began, victims like Bumi Sina are slowly rebuilding their lives. The regret of falling into the trap of instant loans lingers, but they are determined to move forward and raise awareness about the dangers of these predatory apps.
A Call for Action
The Indian authorities have started cracking down on these fraudulent loan apps, with charges filed against several individuals involved in the scams. However, the fight is far from over. It is crucial for individuals to be cautious and informed when it comes to borrowing money through digital platforms.