Need Holiday Cash? Some Gotchas Exist

December 19, 2022

Perhaps one’s mobile device is not the best place to turn when shopping for a loan. The Dailyhunt shares, “Nearly 300 Predatory Loan Apps Circulating on Google, Apple Stores: Report,” originally published at The brief write-up cites a recent report from Lookout, stating:

“Nearly 300 loan apps are circulating on Google Play and the Apple App Store that exhibit predatory behaviour, such as exfiltrating excessive user data from mobile devices and harassing borrowers for repayment, a new report has revealed. According to cloud security company Lookout, these loan apps exploit victims’ desire for quick cash to trap borrowers into predatory loan contracts and require them to grant access to sensitive information such as contacts and SMS messages. Some victims have reported that their loans were accompanied by hidden fees, high-interest rates, and repayment terms that were not as favourable as advertised. Lookout also found evidence that data exfiltrated from devices were sometimes used to pressure borrowers for repayment, which is a common threat tactic to disclose a borrower’s debt to their networks. Researchers at Lookout discovered 251 Android apps that had been downloaded over 15 million times. On the Apple App Store, the researchers discovered 35 apps that ranked among the top 100 finance apps in their regional stores.”

High interest rates, hidden fees, and bait-and-switch terms are problematic enough. Stealing personal information for more effective threats and harassment is next-level abuse brought to us by modern technology. It is not as if the companies are unaware there’s a problem. We learn Google recently removed over 2,000 personal loan apps from its Indian Play Store and ordered loan apps in Kenya to submit proof of licensing. It seems, though, more comprehensive measures may be required. Borrower beware.

Cynthia Murrell, December 19, 2022


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