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Hundreds of Scam Predatory Loan Platforms Found on App Stores

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Apps on a smartphone.

Lookout noted there were more loan scam apps on Android because of its popularity across developing countries. 

Credit: James Yarema

Hundreds of predatory loan apps targeting people across Africa, Asia and Latin America have been available on Google Play and Apple App Store, garnering over 15 million collective downloads.

Discovered by researchers at the cybersecurity firm Lookout, the apps include 35 that were in the top 100 among finance platforms in their regional app stores. They have since been reported to Google and Apple and removed. 

"Based on our analysis, there are likely dozens of independent operators involved, as we only found shared code bases between small batches of apps. With that said, all the apps have a very similar business model, which is to trick victims into unfair loan terms and threaten them to pay," the researchers said. 

"All the predatory loan apps were found in developing countries. Specifically, we identified apps targeting users in Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand, and Uganda. While we don't have evidence of where the scam operators reside, it's clear that these regions were identified to be lucrative."

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