ISLAMABAD: The government has initiated a crackdown on illegal loan apps operating in the country, with 43 apps in the category blocked with immediate effect.

Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque said that 43 apps have been blocked under the immediate implementation of the instructions issued by the ministry.

The targeted companies, operating within the lending industry, were registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He further said that the ministry had directed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Major General Hafeezur Rehman (retd) to take immediate action in this regard. The minister said that an awareness campaign should also be started so that people do not become a victim of such fraud.

According to the MoITT, the IT minister has also made contact with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with directions to take action against such elements instead of waiting for complaints. People should also file complaints with the PTA, FIA Cybercrime, and local police, he added.

Haque shed light on the involvement of mafia groups operating through social media platforms, particularly Facebook. These unscrupulous entities have resorted to blackmailing innocent individuals, exploiting their financial vulnerabilities.

To raise awareness and safeguard the public, a comprehensive public awareness campaign has been launched.

The citizens are urged to report any suspicious loan applications or incidents involving the loan mafia groups to the PTA,

the FIA’s Cybercrime wing, or their local police stations.

The collaborative efforts of various law enforcement agencies aimed to address the increasing cybercrime wave in the country have been taken.

He stressed the importance of protecting the public from financial exploitation and curbing such illegal practices within the lending industry. The minister condemned the tactics employed by loan mafia groups, including threats of violence, blackmail, and misuse of personal data.

He reaffirmed that these actions were in clear violation of the law and must be halted immediately.

The ministry has noted the prevalence of online posts promoting money-making schemes, urging individuals not to respond to such advertisements and avoid sharing sensitive data or money.

The government’s crackdown aims to safeguard the interests of the public and maintain a secure online environment for all citizens.

As the operation progresses, the authorities remain vigilant in their efforts to bring the culprits to justice and protect the citizens from falling victim to fraudulent loan schemes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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