While online payments and digital wallets have made lives easier and much more convenient for all of us, they have also resulted in the rise in digital scams, including identity theft.
Anurag Sinha, Co-founder and CEO of OneScore and OneCard says, “Generally, these transactions go unnoticed and the person is unaware until the lender starts pursuing him for repayment.”
This is another important factor why it is important to keep monitoring your credit score regularly.
How can regular checking of your credit score prevent identity theft fraud?
There are several free platforms available online which give you access to a free credit score and show your detailed payment history and discrepancies, if any, in your credit profile that may be potentially lowering your credit score. The discrepancies could be many – “closed accounts reported as open, accounts wrongly reported as late or delinquent or the same debt listed more than once (possibly with different names with similar spellings as yours) are some of these, if not addressed timely may have a serious impact on one’s credit score,” explains Sinha.
For instance, if there are any open loans under your name that you are not personally aware of, you need to immediately flag this to your credit bureau for the same to be rectified. The overall rectification process takes somewhere between 45-60 days.
Sinha points out, “Proactive monitoring and immediate reporting of any such errors can therefore save one from any fraud or financial loss.”
Precautions to take to safeguard against identity fraud
Identity theft or cases of ghost loans, experts say has become very common these days and can happen to anyone.
Here are some tips and tricks which you can adhere to, to safeguard yourself against such scams;
Regular monitoring of credit score – Regular checking of your credit score and reading your credit report can help you identify discrepancies that already are or can potentially tamper with your credit score. Therefore, “proactive monitoring of credit score will offer one the headway to take charge of the situation and employ immediate steps to get the situation under control before the damages get irreparable,” says Sinha.
Avoid downloading/signing up with any non-registered lender – Unverified lending apps and portals may land you in big-time trouble. Sinha points out, “These apps may collect one’s crucial bank data which can be further used to trap one in financial fraud. It is always advisable to apply for credit only at the time of need and through a verified credit lender.”
Signup for mobile banking alerts – Signing up for SMS/notification alerts for all your banking transactions can be an ideal way to keep digital frauds like identity theft at bay. According to experts, they can help you keep a thorough check on any unauthorized transactions while keeping you updated on your account activities.
Avoid using public/unencrypted wifi – Submitting your personal details/banking credentials for some transaction using unencrypted or public wifi can aid hackers to access your private information. Sinha explains, “One should avoid using public wifi for any financial/banking transaction and they should be carried out only through personal devices and internet connection.”