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Ministry probes loan-shark apps that hack users to send Facebook threats


The Digital Economy and Society Ministry is investigating mobile loan-shark apps after customers complained that the apps steal users’ data to send them threatening messages via Facebook, Line and SMS.

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The personal data is hacked by malware embedded in the mobile phone when the borrower installs the application, complainants said.

Newin Chochaiyathip, assistant to the Digital Economy and Society minister, said the ministry had received a letter from a group of people who said their mobile phone data had been hacked by illegal loan apps, leading to intimidation and harassment.

In response, the ministry was coordinating with police and had contacted the operating system providers, Apple Inc (iOS) and Google (Android), to combat the mobile loan sharks, Newin said.

The ministry was taking urgent steps to resolve the problems since the case had caused widespread damage, he added.

However, he said the best way to deal with the problem was for borrowers to use caution when taking loans online. If an app’s interest rates were unusual or illegal, he advised users to report it to the police and delete the app.

More than 2,000 customers have reported loan apps for hacking their mobile phone data, including contact lists, images and videos, mobile banking, location, SMS message box, and Facebook and Line accounts.

When a borrower fails to make a payment on time, the app calls or sends a message via SMS, Line or Facebook. The messages often use impolite, vulgar or threatening language, even threatening the user’s life unless they pay up.

Published : March 31, 2021

By : The Nation