With the rise of personal loan scams and frauds, it falls to the authorities to find a way to manage the situation. The internet, with all its benefits, has further compounded the situation as it has made it easier for fraudsters to access and transfer money quickly.
In fact, card and internet-related frauds in India increased to ₹155 crores, involving 3596 cases during the year ended March 2022, a report by The Indian Express informs.
Things like this have prompted the authorities to clamp down hard on online fraud, and the result is evident. Multinational tech powerhouse Google informed on Thursday that it had taken down over 2000 personal loan apps from its Play Store in India this year.
The tech giant, which operates one of the most popular search engines, informed that it had purged this host of personal loan apps after they consulted with the law enforcement agencies, and because several of the apps had been found to have violated the policies of the Play Store.
“A big bulk of the loan apps in the Play Store were taken down… I would say more than 50 percent of them (were in violation of Google’s policies),” said Saikat Mitra, Senior Director and Head of Trust and Safety at Google Asia-Pacific, at an event in New Delhi.
Mitra added that the apps were targeting Indian users and that the company was already working with several stakeholders like government agencies, media and user referrals, as well as leveraging its AI/ML capabilities to tackle the issue.
“This kind of issue gets boxed more easily in Indonesia where only government-certified apps can lend,” he said.
Going forward, the tech giant has plans to change its current policy and introduce more safeguards in order to curb down the growth of such apps to remove the problems that arise with predatory loan scams, including harassment and even suicides.
At this moment, it requires that all lending apps on its Play Store must complete the additional proof of eligibility requirements (including a copy of the license to provide personal loans by the RBI), as well as provide customers with a window of at least 60 days to repay the loan. This change was implemented after it removed hundreds of personal loans apps in India last year.
This development comes even as the central government is planning to ban 300 personal loan apps that have been known to pursue predatory practices in their dealings with people. Many of these apps have been found to traced back to China and have links to money laundering.
While the ones taken down by Google do not seem to be linked to predatory loans, which the Indian government has been curbing earnestly in recent times.