RECENTLY, I was contacted by someone claiming to be a representative of a personal loan application. The agent, through an ordinary number, called me and argued that my brother had taken a loan worth Rs12,800 and it had been more than 10 days, but the amount had not been returned.

On further inquiry, he provided me the CNIC picture and a selfie of my brother. When I asked my brother about the matter, he was shocked because the CNIC and the selfie the agent gave me had been provided to another loan app. The funny thing is that my brother had not taken loan from even the other app.

On further investigation, I came to know that the app to which my brother had sent his data was subsequently removed from Google Play Store for stealing user data and manipulating its customers. The app has been notoriously infamous for data theft, including phone numbers, gallery, names, email addresses and more.

After coming to know this all, I contacted the agent who had earlier called me and sought further information regarding the ‘case’. But he failed to provide me the payment channel, company address, contact number, etc. It was a clear case of someone, or some app, trying to make some money the wrong way. Simply put, it was attempted fraud. I explored the matter and did not fall in the trap, but there would be others who might have been trapped.

The main thing that I am unable to understand is the passage of information from one app to another so easily. Was the data sold, shared or accessed illegally?

People should better be aware of such shady loan apps operating in the name of fintech. They steal your personal data and exploit it for their own vested interests. It helps to be cautious than carefree, and spreading the word around is an effective way to create awareness on the matter and to discourage the fraudsters.

Faisal Ahmed
Khairpur Mirs

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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