As per the information compiled from various banks, so far 2,313 cases are reported in last three years and majority of these loan frauds come from
(a) Fake agents representing corporates / Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana
(b) Fake identity personal loan frauds and
(c) Fake instant personal loans that are being offered through SMS / WhatsApp.

Modus operandi

Scammers do a random calling of numbers collected from dark web of prospective persons who are looking for loans and then use the phishing techniques to collect money. Let me explain all three modus operandi separately.

(a) Fake agents representing corporates

Scammers make random calls, send SMS / WhatsApp texts and gain confidence on the telephonic discussions. Victims get lured to send their credentials and in the next step they get a fake verification completeness certificate and a scanned copy of the cheque.

After that scammers ask the victim to send fake GST and support fee and to gain the confidence of the victim the scammers will send a courier receipt of the cheque sent. There were instances where the scammers offer loan to their spouses and redo the same process gain.

(b) Fake identity personal loan frauds

Details of the identity cards like PAN/ Aadhaar card are bought by the scammers to apply for the personal loans with morphed photographs. They open a bank account and maintain regular salary transfers, and then apply for loans. Once the loan is sanctioned the scammer disconnects all communications.

Usually victims come to know about the scam only when they apply for a new loan and they see someone has already applied for loan on his identity (As reflected in CIBIL). Many a time victims get calls from collection agents asking them to pay the EMI amounts. Usually in this type of cases the bank employees are also part of the scam.

(c) Fake instant personal loan fraud

Victims get SMS / WhatsApp texts of instant personal loans. When the victim calls the number and start the process, the scammers asks them fill few forms which has OTP / UPIN details and there by lose money.

Warning signs of online loan fraud

No credit check required

The scammer will not bother to check the credit scores and will put more focus on collecting personal details.

Lender is not registered with the government legally
To continue in the lending business, it is mandatory for lenders to register with the government.

No physical address
Lender does not provide any physical address or contact information to the victim. Once you transfer the money, he will stop contacting or does respond to calls/ mails. It will be very difficult to reach the scammer at later point.

Advance payment
Scammers might demand advance payment of certain fees in the name of GST or processing fees. No reputed banker will ask for payment before processing the loan application.

Offer expires in few days
Scammers come up with limited period offers and ask applicants to make decisions quickly using scareware tactics, saying the offer expires soon. Basically, reputed bankers offer interest rates after evaluating your credit history.

How to safeguard yourself from such frauds

Fraudsters in phishing scams obtain details of personal or financial information of the victim

  • Look for a secure payment (https:// – URL with a pad lock symbol)
  • Never share OTP / PIN Numbers in any form, to the buyer or seller
  • Never do transactions while you are on call
  • Do not click and fill up any short links provided by the buyer or seller
  • Do not fill google forms provided by the buyer or seller
  • Do not scan QR codes, if you scan, it means your money is getting debited from account
  • Banker will never ask for an advance fee before the processing of loan application. Banks charge a processing fee, which is deducted from the loan amount

Stay Tuned to Cyber Talk Column on Feb 25 for real time Cyber Issues and its tips to avoid them, brought to you by Anil Rachamalla, End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org


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