FIA Goes After Loan-lending Smartphone Apps for Blackmailing Using Personal Data

The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing (CCW) has launched a probe against the loan-lending smartphone apps that are allegedly involved in blackmailing their clients.

The apps include Barwaqt, PK Loan, Easy Loan, and Fast Loan. According to FIA, these apps provide loans on a 2-6% markup.

However, these apps unlawfully gain access to personal data, including contacts, on clients’ smartphones and start blackmailing them to pay a 40% markup instead, FIA noted. Furthermore, if the borrowers do not pay the additional markup, they threaten to leak their photos.

Also, FIA revealed that the teams behind these apps approach debtors and demand money from them under the name of resolving the issues, adding that they mostly target women as compared to men.

The FIA launched an inquiry after multiple female victims filed complaints against the aforementioned apps. It is unknown how these companies offer loans and demand markups without being registered with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). It casts serious doubts on the country’s regulatory bodies.