Alert..! Your PAN & AADHAAR Documents can be misused.
These days, when we need to get loans, credit cards or any other services the main documents that we need to submit are PAN Card, AADHAAR Card and a passport size photograph. And with advancement of the services and speed of digital delivery we can get most of financial services with ease. Thanks to digitization, that we are now getting this at such magnificent speeds.
However, this can sometimes comes at a cost when the end-user is unaware and does not understand the threats associated with sharing the documents with Loan agents or any other executive who processes the loan or other financial needs of customer.
Now, when we need to share our documents to any of the loan agents / executives for processing any of financial transactions or any allied procedures we casually share our PAN card, AADHAAR card, Photo and sometimes even our signature on blank papers (Based on use case). This can sometimes be in form of sharing via 'WhatsApp' or email or Telegram or other channels.
This mode of sharing has its inherent risks and this becomes quite easy for fraudsters to steal your identity to commit crimes/frauds on your name.
Recently, an incident came to light in our city where a businessman's KYC documents were misused by fraudsters to steal his identity and get a credit card and commit credit stealing worth INR 7 Lacs.
The incident was reported in news on October 9th, 2022
Details about the fraud
As per the available information from newspaper, Mr. Deepak, a 54 year old who runs a furniture business was charged of INR 7.04 Lacs pending bill payment by American Express credit card was contacted by recovery agents from card company. The victim was shocked as he had not applied nor possessed American Express credit card. Upon raising the dispute & after inspecting the documents allegedly used to establish the identity for issuing the credit card, the victim came to know KYC documents i.e. PAN card, AADHAAR card, passport size photo were the ones that he had earlier shared for getting loan from multiple banks.
These KYC documents were misused by fraudsters to get a credit card in name of Mr. Deepak. The matter was reported to cyber crime police station and based on the complain police took appropriate action and zeroed down the fraudsters and arrested the culprits.
Apparently, 2 culprits were responsible for this fraud by giving away the KYC documents and Applied for American Express credit card and after they somehow got access to the card, they made purchases from the card. The matter is under further investigation by police.
In any case of identity or credit stealing frauds, the weakest link is that majority of people do not understand or value their identity documents i.e PAN, AADHAAR, Drivers Licence, Voter's card, Passport, Photograph, etc. people casually share their documents (hard or soft copy format) whenever someone asks them. Especially, when passing these details via WhatsApp. Because, we dont exactly know how our KYC documents can end up being shared by such loan executives/agents or any other unknown entity.
This, in fact is the biggest risk, could take form of such identity or credit frauds. You could imagine if someone could take a credit card in your name, can also take loans on your records and can possibly hurt your credit ratings.
The most certain way in which you can stay protected is by following some very basic steps.
Avoid sharing your KYC documents with any executive/agents/associates via WhatsApp/Telegram etc.
While sharing your KYC documents, always prefer the 'Official channels' (eg. official customer care email address / official WhatsApp or other channel that is under control of bank/financial institution) provided by banks/financial agencies.
Prefer to share documents physically in photocopy stating the purpose, date & signature.
For sharing your AADHAAR card, always share 'Masked AADHAAR' and noting down the details on the physical copy.
Be vigilant. Regularly check your CIBIL report for any unknown loans that could have been taken. In case of any issue, immediately report to concerned bank/financial agency.
Value your KYC / Identification documents and keep the originals in a safe space to avoid any unauthorised physical access.
Be very clear in telling any agent/executive to not take any photo of your KYC / ID documents on his mobile device. (unless he/she is using the official application of the bank/financial institution.)
Avoid storing your ID / KYC documents on your mobile device ( what happens when your mobile device is stolen/lost with such information??). Instead, use DigiLocker service to store your KYC/ID Documents.
When we are seeing a surge in cyber crimes and especially identity thefts of all categories, it is now become essential for everyone to stay alert and start educating themselves to avoid being a victim of such crimes.
We need to be aware about how our personal information and related documents hold value and how they can be misused. The more aware we are, the more secure we will get against such frauds.
If you like the article, we would love the hear from you. Please do share your thoughts on this topic and also share other tips to be secure and make this thread a good resource for our readers.
Be Alert, Be Safe from cyber crimes.