Identity fraud is a growing problem. Watch your step when taking out loans to avoid any trouble.
First the good news: the internet is making it easier and more convenient to do all sorts of things. However, as it does so it’s sparking an alarming rise in the level of identity fraud. The more information you have available in the digital domain the more vulnerable you’ll be and, worse still, pay day lending is far from immune.
A growing business
The more we use the internet, the stronger and more prevalent identity fraud becomes. As it does so, governments and companies have taken steps to address it. Even so fraud rates continue to grow. Fraudsters are proving alarmingly resilient in adapting to all measures taken against them. According to CIFAS identity fraud increased by 25% in 2014 over 2013 with men and people over the age of 55 the most likely victims.
Payday loans represent one particular area of vulnerability. Speaking to Blomberg Business, Andrew Komarov of Intelligence Crawler warned we were seeing a “new wave of fraud,” in which criminals were targeting payday lenders. Customers could see their back accounts raided and loans taken out in their name of subject them to any other form of debt.
Payday lenders make attractive targets because of the information they hold on customers – bank details, contact information, and so on. They also have contacts with debt collection agencies which can in turn open up more contacts allowing them to steal the information of people who haven’t even taken out a loan.
Banks have much of this information too. However, these large scale multinational institutions are old hands at combating fraudsters. Their cyber defences are as good as they get, but the same may not be true of payday lenders. Some are better than others, and while the leading participants are starting to build more robust defences, plenty still lag behind.
Online identity fraud
It’s not just the information they hold that could get you into trouble. If you apply online, any files you download can potentially carry a virus or malware which in turn allow a fraudster to access your personal details.
So it pays to be vigilant. Don’t assume that because you’ve heard of a company they’re certain to be safe. Some of the biggest names in business have fallen victim to fraud. Instead, take a little time to look into the details of any loan company. Find out if they have experienced any data loss in the past and what procedures they have in place to ensure the safety of your information.
The best loan providers will be happy to share this information. They understand that data security is a major issue for all their customers and will want to provide as much reassurance as possible.
Aside from this, when working online, take the following precautions.
Be careful what you download:
Use an anti-virus software and make sure it’s from a trustworthy source. Anything you take onto your system can place your personal data at risk.
Change your passwords:
According to Offcom, most of us use the same passwords for all our online accounts; it can be easier, but if the crooks crack one password they could instantly have access to almost everything.
Don’t follow links:
Many fraudsters steal the identity of well-known companies to get your information. They may send you an email with a link; this will take you to a site which looks and feels right, but has in fact been set up by the criminals.
All in all the secret is to use your common sense. If something feels wrong it very possibly is.