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Google removed over 2,200 fake loan apps from Play Store in India, says govt

Between September 2022 and August 2023, Google removed over 2,200 deceptive loan applications from its Play Store in India, as part of a stringent action against unlawful digital lending platforms.

Edited By: Om Gupta

Published: Feb 07, 2024, 07:23 PM IST

Parliament
Parliament

Story Highlights

  • Google has taken down more than 2,200 fraudulent loan apps from its Play Store in India.
  • The action followed a crackdown on illegal digital lending platforms.
  • Google has also updated its policy and enforcement actions for loan apps in India.

The government on Tuesday said that Google has taken down more than 2,200 fraudulent loan apps from its Play Store in India between September 2022 and August 2023, following a crackdown on illegal digital lending platforms.

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat K Karad said that the government is in constant touch with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other regulators and stakeholders to curb the menace of fake loan apps, which have been accused of harassing and extorting money from borrowers.

He said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had received information from Google that it had reviewed around 3,500 to 4,000 loan apps and suspended or removed over 2,500 of them from its Play Store during April 2021-July 2022.

He added that Google had also updated its policy and enforcement actions for loan apps in India, allowing only those apps on its Play Store that are published by regulated entities or those working in partnership with them.

Karad said that the RBI had issued regulatory guidelines on digital lending, which aim to strengthen the regulatory framework, enhance customer protection, and ensure the safety and soundness of the digital lending ecosystem.

He also said that the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had been proactively analysing the digital lending apps on a regular basis and taking action against them.

He said that the MHA had launched a National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (www.cybercrime.gov.in) and a National Cybercrime Helpline number ‘1930’ to enable the citizens to report cyber incidents, including illegal loan apps.

He further said that the government, along with the RBI and banks, had been taking various measures to spread awareness against cybercrimes, such as cyber safety tips, handbooks, best practices, awareness weeks, SMS, radio campaigns, and publicity on prevention of ‘cybercrime’.

He also said that the RBI had been conducting electronic banking awareness and training (e-BAAT) programmes, which focus on awareness about frauds and risk mitigation.

Meanwhile, RBI recently directed Paytm Payments Bank from onboarding new customers. In addition to that, RBI’s circular put a hold on credit transactions or deposits in the Paytm Payments Bank among other things.

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Author Name | Om Gupta

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