Money-lending apps turn the monkey on its back

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By Shreyashi Mukherjee

Ashkar Ali, a computer professional, ran out of Rs 10,000 recently. Since he didn’t want to borrow from his parents, he decided to take it from a loan application. In retrospectionit was a big mistake.

“I had to repay the loan in two months with interest of Rs 500 in two installments each. I repaid the money on time with interest,” he told BM.

But a few days later, he started getting calls from app employees. “They abused me for not paying the money. I told them that I had paid, but they did not believe me. I sent them screenshots of the money paid, but they kept sending me messages and voice notes.

He said people followed his contacts and sent them messages saying bad things about him. “They had forwarded a photo of my Aadhaar card along with my photo to all my contacts and on my photo they had written words like rapist.” The harassment continued for a month, but after he stopped responding to them and asked his contacts to do the same, it gradually stopped.

BM has tracked down at least two other people who have had similar horrific experiences after using such apps. To To borrow moneyone has to upload a photo, a photo of his Aadhaar card and his phone number.

Ronith K, a freelancer, said he borrowed Rs 15,000 from an app and chose four months to return the money. “Even before the repayment date came, they started calling me and harassing me. They threatened me that if I didn’t pay the money immediately, they would send people to my house. When I told them about the due date, they just argued and abused me.

Finally, Ronith had to arrange his parents’ money and pay to get them off his back.

Yohith Raj, a student, went through hell for borrowing Rs 5,000. the money to my friends and that I refunded it but the calls did not stop. My photo was forwarded to all my contacts saying that I had stolen the money. The calls and messages n only stopped after my brother spoke to them.

Most of these loan app users don’t want to go to the police as they just want to end the trauma and move on.

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