People can also lodge their initial complaints through the new Twitter handle of the Kolkata Police Cyber Cell for cops to help recover stolen money.
Police commissioner Vineet Goyal announced these at Lalbazar on Thursday even as he appealed to netizens to not panic in case they fall victim to phone hacks and cyber crimes. Saying that fake loan app gangs were on the prowl — along with those who are sending fake pending power bill alerts — Goyal asked everyone not to pay up but report all such cases directly to police.
TOI this year has published several reports on the fake loan app gangs operating from outside the state.
“There is no need to panic even if you see personal information or a photograph being sent to you. It is because your data and contact list has got shared. You should come to the local police station or the cyber cell immediately,” said Goyal. He added the entire endeavour of Kolkata Police at present is to make the citizens aware of the dangers of believing random loan apps or clicking on random links.
The commissioner stated that a huge network of cyber criminals was using Chinese loan apps to carry out fraud sitting in neighbouring countries like Nepal and even far off Dubai. “They have several Indians working for them from multiple cities and the neighbouring countries setting up fake call centres there and using the Wi-Fi there even though the numbers they are using are Indian. We have arrested people from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra besides Kolkata recently in this regard. When we tried recovering the money, we found that the organized gang was using mule accounts where the account holder had no knowledge about the accused,” said Goyal.
Joint CP (Crime) Murlidhar Sharma said the police have received two dozen loan app complaints where accused had got access of contact list and photographs stored in the mobile phones of the victims after the accused made them click on certain links. “There are others who have sent us emails but requested us not to initiate FIRs. The principal amount demanded by blackmailer using personal information is low, ranging between Rs 5000-10000 at first, but since bulk meaages are being sent, the total amount could be significant,” said Sharma. Police have written to Google to remove several such fake loan apps from their Playstore, said Lalbazar sources.