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Several fake call centres that allegedly extort money from people on the pretext of recovering loans are cropping up in Gurugram, reported Hindustan Times, quoting police officials. 

The fraudsters are targeting people who have obtained money through instant loan disbursal mobile applications, particularly Chinese apps, and defaulted on them. 

According to the officials, over 200 such complaints have been received by the cyber crime police station since December last year. The police in March managed to arrest 38 persons from Udyog Vihar after receiving 50 complaints against them. Some suspects were also arrested from Sohna Road who are former employees of BPOs.

“They call around 700 people on a daily basis to extort money from them. The gangs are expected to have duped people of tune of 10 crore in the past three years. They made a windfall during the pandemic as many people lost jobs and wanted money in a hurry to meet their household needs," said the ACP.

How do the fraudsters function?

Assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Indivar said that in many cases, the fraudsters hire men and women to run call centres, and train them to dupe people. They are also trained in morphing pictures. They are given a 25% cut from the money extorted. 

The loan apps in question are themselves not secure. They can only be downloaded only through URLs sent to a specific receiver and are not available on Play Store or App Store. 

When a victim downloads these, these gangs get access to the data saved on their phone. They then morph their photographs and send them to the victim and also their relatives to extort money.

Since they also get access to the victim's passwords, the fraudsters start using this data to con them. In at least 20 cases, police have revealed that the frauds transferred money from the victim's bank accounts to theirs and withdrew it from ATM kiosks in different cities.

Many of these gangs are operating from remote villages, which makes it difficult for the police to trace their location. They also keep changing their phone numbers. 

Such cases are not unique to Gurgaon. Several instances of frauds based on loan apps have also been reported from Telangana. 

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