Last Updated: December 08, 2023, 13:47 IST

Predatory loan apps target people who want quick money

Google says it has been removing these dangerous loan apps from the Play Store but the problem clearly needs more attention.

There has been a serious concern around predatory loan apps in India and other countries, forcing Google to take drastic action and remove them from the Play Store so that millions don’t inadvertently download the apps and leave themselves vulnerable to possible blackmail and other malpractices.

Now, a new security report says that Google has been forced to remove quite a few apps that have clocked more than 12 million downloads across the globe, including India. These Android apps were disguised as loan apps on the Play Store but their deceptive nature comes with the risk of stealing or spying on the users through their smartphones, hence they got the name SpyLoan apps.

The report via ESET Research shares the details of these apps, how they were able to affect users and what data that could access.

These malicious applications exploit the trust that users place in legitimate loan providers, using sophisticated techniques to deceive people and steal a wide range of personal information, said Lukas Stefanko from ESET Research who discovered these spy loan apps.

The people operating these spyloan apps were from countries like India, Pakistan, Peru, Thailand, Egypt and Kenya among others. The biggest reason for the surge of these loan apps is many people needing quick loans without having to entertain the bank-related procedures.

All they have to do is download the loan app X, give the app all kinds of permissions to run on the phone, and the loan is cleared, disbursed. But what people don’t realise is that the app’s permission gives it unlimited access to your phone, which puts them at the mercy of these loan predators.

Apps like these have shown their damaging nature, as many people have reportedly taken their lives because of the pressure put by these companies to pay off the loans quickly and with higher interest rates than usual loans.

Google claims to have made its mission to end the misery of these predatory apps that are even spying on users. More than 200 apps of this ilk have been removed from the Play Store but with more than 12 million downloads already registered, the problem is to get the affected people out of the trap set up by these dangerous apps.