PETALING JAYA: The illegal money lenders or Ah Long have upped their game with the use of mobile apps that allow them to steal borrowers’ cell phone data.
Information such as photos as well as personal videos and contact lists will be used to intimidate victims into continuing to make payments even after full settlement.
These apps also allow syndicates to control the camera, microphone, and access the location of mobile users and monitor their movements.
There are more than 20 such apps that have been identified on Google Play such as 126 Loan, Ace Credit, De Capital, Easy Duit and JF Credit.
The Star’s checks revealed that these mobile apps have a precondition with users who want to install the apps for the loan process, requiring them to give access to their device and social media accounts.
Just fill out a form in the app, attach a photo of the ID card and also take a selfie with the card.
After verification, one should be able to get the money within the hour.
Kuala Lumpur Consumer Safety Association Chairman Samsuddin Mohamad Fauzi said they receive complaints from about 10 victims every week, most of them victims of a loan shark by the name of ” Jimmy”.
“His victims are all over the country, even in Sabah and Sarawak, through the Credit Masterz app.
“He’ll force his victims to do all the dirty work like throwing paint on other victims’ houses, so he’ll have at least one henchman in every state.”
“In exchange, he will offer them a discount on their refund,” he said.
Samsuddin said loan sharks would create a group or send a broadcast message to the victims’ contact list with the intention of harassing borrowers, their friends and family.
“They take photos from the victim’s mobile gallery, edit them with nude photos and send them to their contact list.
“They also claim that the victims are using them as guarantors, so these people will get worried and start pushing the victims to repay the loan, when in fact some of them had already settled the amount,” he said. he said, adding that some have paid more than 200 times. the value received.
The checks also revealed that the loans offered by Ah Long are at 1.5% interest per month – still within the limits of the rate set by the Money Lenders Act 1951, which does not exceed 12% per month. year for secured loans and 18% per year for unsecured loans.
However, the victims said the rate was just a trap and that the syndicate would change the terms of the loan deal as they saw fit once it was approved.
Some of the Ah Longs also claimed that they held licenses from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.
Samsuddin said these Ah Long are not easy to follow.
“We have already tried to locate them, but we have not succeeded. We don’t know if they are local or based overseas, but they used a virtual private network,” he said, adding that some of the mules are actually their victims.
Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Investigation Department Deputy Director Mazelan Paijan said those wishing to apply for loans should seek out approved lenders and ensure the agreement is signed at physical premises.
CCID Director Comm Datuk Mohd Kamarudin Md Din said the police were working with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to monitor and track websites and advertisements linked to illegal money lending services in line.
“Those with questions can call our CCID Scam Response Center on 03-2610 1559 or 03-2610 1599,” he said.
To date, MCMC has blocked access to five websites that violate the law, following a request from the ministry.
Meanwhile, the Department of Housing and Local Government has confirmed that only one company has been granted a license to offer loans online, namely Big Pay.