Illegal online lender in Jakarta made fake nudes of clients to collect debt: police

Jakarta police during an office raid of an unregistered online lender in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta on Oct. 18, 2021. Photo: Police handout
Jakarta police during an office raid of an unregistered online lender in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta on Oct. 18, 2021. Photo: Police handout

Amid a crackdown on unregistered online lenders in Indonesia, one illicit company in Jakarta made fake nudes of their clients to coerce them during collection, police said.

The Jakarta Metro Police raided the office of the illegal lender in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta at 8pm yesterday evening, and found that they had a “collection” of photographs featuring their clients’ faces pasted on naked bodies.

“They collect using pornographic content, and they used an element of threat [during collection],” Jakarta Metro Police’s Special Crimes Unit Director Auliansyah told reporters following the raid.

Four employees, comprising two telemarketers and two debt collectors, were apprehended during the raid. Police believe they represent only a fraction of the lenders’ entire workforce of around 78 people, many of whom work from home.

One detained debt collector, who went by the name Soza, said he had only worked at the company for two weeks but he was already under constant pressure from his bosses to collect money from their clients.

“I had to think outside the box to collect. I looked left and right, and they used this [fake nudes] method. So for two weeks I used these photos too,” he said, adding that collectors threatened their clients that they would spread the fake nudes online if they don’t pay up.

In addition to financial scam charges, those involved with this online lender may also face heavy punishments for violating Indonesia’s strict anti-pornography laws.

Police said the lender has around 8,000 clients.

Authorities across Indonesia have been cracking down on illegal online lenders and making high-profile raids at their offices in recent days. These lenders are known to prey on the desperate and financially illiterate, giving them seemingly easy loans that come loaded with exorbitant interest rates while farming their private data.

Throughout this year, the Financial Services Authority (OJK) has blocked the apps of some 3,500 unregistered online lenders, while the Jakarta Metro Police has raided 40 companies so far.

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