In this day and age of hyperconectivity, most of us pay scant attention to details when it comes to the protection of our financial details. But a little slip here and there or even unmindfulness can cost us dearly and severely compromise our financial standing in life. We are talking about identity theft or identity fraud, the vilest form of cybercrime.
You may be thinking you are doing all things right to improve CIBIL score, but if you are not careful about protecting your financial identity, you may discover that your credit card usage has gone through the roof or somebody has availed of unsecured personal loans or even a used car loan in your name! Worse still, your financial identity has been used to finance some criminal activity for which you stand to be implicated. In this article however, we will tell you about the financial impact of identity theft and what you can do if you have become a victim of one.
Here are some financial impacts that an identity theft may bring about:
Credit card issues
If your financial identity has been compromised, the impostor may spend on your credit card and redirect the bills to another address. As a result, you may not even realize that somebody is using your credit card unless the lender calls you to inform that you owe them a hefty outstanding amount. The impostor may also call up other credit card companies, make a credit card application and use it without your knowledge. If you already have a good CIBIL score, getting access to instant approval cards may not be difficult for the fraudster at all! It is only when you access you CIBIL report, will you may discover that somebody is using a whole new card in your name.
What is worse is, that even though you may have worked hard to increase you CIBIL score, for a good number of years, it may nosedive in a matter of days for no fault of yours. Excessive credit card usage by the impostor will not only increase your outstanding amount, it will take up your credit utilization manifold, thus compromising your CIBIL score. Also each time the fraudster makes an inquiry for a new credit card or a loan product, you CIBIL score will keep diving down.
Bank account issues
Lenders of today are strengthening their protection against cybercrime by putting in many layers of protection for the ease of their customers, but if your identity has been compromised by a sophisticated cyber criminal, it is not impossible for him to hack your bank account electronically and re-direct the funds to some other account. If the funds are used for some other criminal activity, it is possible that the bank account may be traced to you and you may be implicated for a crime you have not committed. Depending upon the seriousness of the crime you may even face arrest.
How to deal with financial frauds-
Everybody thinks that such things are only restricted to the papers or the media and that it will happen to “someone else”. While our intention is not to play the role of a scaremonger, but it can be possible that you are on the radar of a cyber-criminal even as you are sitting in the comfort of your home or office. Although, we do not wish for this to happen to you, here are certain steps that we would like to tell you about, in case you do fall prey to such a crime.
File a police complaint
The moment you come to know that your financial identity has been compromised, file a police complaint immediately. Do this physically at your local police station and provide the details as best you can. You may be directed to the cyber-crime investigation branch of your city, where you will be asked to come in with certain details like server logs, bank account details, access information, i,e who all had access to your bank account and to what extent. You may also be asked to provide a list of suspects if you have any in mind and may be asked details. Co-operate with the authorities of investigation in the best possible manner to track down the criminals.
Inform your lender and CIBIL
A financial identity theft must be brought to the attention of the lenders at once. If a new card has been issued in your name, the lender may be able to track down the transaction details and hand over the same to the police who can then find it easier to track down the easier. If a credit card fraud has happened and the lender is assured that you are a victim, your losses may be restricted to a notional loss. However, if your bank account has been compromised it may be difficult to recover your funds. However, you can be assured that the bank will do everything possible to recover your money.
The next thing you must do is to raise a CIBIL dispute. You may have discovered an identity theft at a stage when your CIBIL score has already dipped because a new credit card, personal loan or even an auto loan may have been taken in your name. With the supportive documents you will need to raise a dispute with CIBIL saying that your identity has been compromised and that you are not responsible for the same. CIBIL will carry on its own investigation and verification process which may take a month or even longer, depending on the extant of the fraud.
In any case, in spite of the mental stress and emotional trauma that you are going through you will have to inform the concerned authorities and do your best to track down the criminal. It may be a grueling and a time taking process, in which you may have suffered financial and emotional loss, but you need to keep your head on your shoulders and follow the judicial procedures that are expected of you at such times.
A very useful article. A well written one. You have mentioned some wonderful points. Good Job. Keep it up.
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