Recovery agents dig FB to harass defaulter's kin

Hyderabad couple complains to police against agents from Mumbai firm for 'calling 300 times a day' to demand the phone no of one of their cousins, on whose profile they are listed as family

Make sure you do a background check of your family members before you add them on your family tree on any social networking site.

Recently, a Hyderabad-based couple paid a heavy price for showing up on the Facebook profile of one of their cousins, who is reportedly in a dispute with recovery agents from a Mumbai-based firm. The couple alleged that the agents have been threatening to send objectionable e-mails to their Facebook friends, if they do not give out the contact details of the cousin.

Persistent calls
"We have nothing to do with that loan. All this harassment is to get the number of one of our cousins, Supriya, on whose profile my wife is listed as a member in the family tree. They retrieved our numbers from Supriya's account and have been harassing her by making at least 300 calls a day. They have threatened to send objectionable e-mails to our friends if we do not cooperate," said Y Ravi Shankar owner of a software firm, Net Source Softek Pvt Ltd in Ameerpet, Hyderabad.

According to Shankar, the trauma began after his wife received the first call on August 26. The caller refused to identify himself and, speaking in Kannada and Hindi, demanded to know Supriya's number.

"He first called my wife. When she started ignoring the calls, he began harassing me. They have made it difficult for me to focus on work," Shankar alleged, adding, "Why should we give out someone's number to an unidentified caller?" 

"When my wife confronted the caller, he turned more aggressive and threatened that he would hack into my wife's profile and send unseemly messages to her friends. All the rude calls have been traumatic for my wife who has now switched off her cell phone. She has not been responding to any of her personal or professional calls," Shankar added. 

Last morning, a harried Shankar approached the SR Nagar police station in Hyderabad, seeking action against Shaha Finlease Private Ltd based in Powai.

Inspector P Krishnamurthy said, "We received the complaint today. Since it is a non-cognisable offence, we will be forwarding it to the court, and shall take further action as per court orders."

Shankar also spoke with the cyber crime department in the city.

"The officer from the Mumbai Cyber Crime Cell has asked me for all the numbers from which the agents have been making calls to my wife. He assured us that once that is done, appropriate action will be taken," Shankar said.

Senior PI Nandkumar More from Mumbai Cyber Crime Cell neither confirmed nor denied the report.

The Other Side
MiD DAY called up the office of Shaha Finlease Private Ltd. A female, who identified herself as Laxmi, answered. She refused to divulge her full name and denied that any of the company's executives had threatened Shankar or his wife, using a social networking site.

Not the first time
In December 2010, an HR executive of an MNC residing in Borivli had befriended a female on Facebook, who arranged for them to meet up at a posh restaurant. But he was shocked to discover that, in reality, she was a recovery agent. The executive had allegedly defaulted on a loan payment he had taken for his Honda City car.

In another incident, a defaulter had gifted his Santro car to a cousin and fled to South Africa, without informing him that the car was bought on a loan. The recovery agents resorted to the social network to trace him, and the whereabouts of the car, and finally seized it.

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