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8 lending agents arrested for harassing, humiliating debtors online

Authorities nabbed eight agents of an online lending agency in Pasay City for allegedly harassing and humiliating their debtors on social media.

According to Raffy Tima's report on "24 Oras" on Tuesday, members of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) raided the office of lending application Realm Shifters BPO Services after receiving a complaint from a cop.

Seized during the raid were the computers used in the lending company's operations and the mobile phones of 57 employees.

"'Yung asawa niya, na-depress na. Kasi itong mga online lending apps na ito isa sa mga modus nila is yung pagha-harass through text messages nung kanilang mga victims, tini-threaten na papatayin, na ipo-post as scammers," said PNP-ACG Spokesperson Michelle Sabino.

(The cop's wife got depressed because these lending apps harass their clients through text messages. They also threaten to kill them or post online that they are scammers.)

Sabino said the police were still investigating if the company had legitimate papers.

"Isa pang masamang ginagawa ng mga online lending agency na ito, 'yung rate of interest na ipinapataw nila doon sa nangutang, sobrang laki," she added.

(They also impose high-interest rates.)

The lending agency allegedly loans at least P3,000 but due to high interest rates, debtors only receive P1,800, which they can pay from seven to 14 days. Most of their clients are indigents who do not have enough credentials to borrow money from banks.

For her part, the company's supervising agent admitted they were harassing some clients online.

"Kung meron kaming foul na nagawa, ito yung pagti-trigger ng mga agents na i-post si client sa social media, but then ginagawa po yan ni agent kasi yung mga kliyente namin ilang days ng overdue, hindi nakikipag-cooperate," she said.

(If we did something wrong, it was because our agents were triggered into posting online about clients whose payments were overdue.)

"Hindi yung magagawa ni agent kung si client is naging responsible din doon sa utang nila," she added.

(The agents will not do that if the client takes responsibility for their debt.) — Sundy Locus/DVM, GMA Integrated News