How Protected Are You Online?
Did you know fraudsters could take out loans in your name, without you even knowing?
In a case recently reported in The Guardian, an individual from Essex got a rude shock when they received a letter from a lender indicating he had taken out a payday loan.
Payday loans are short-term, high-interest loans for those who need smaller amounts of money urgently.
In this case, the individual, let’s call him Frank, received a letter in the post from Lending Stream. It said he owed them £440.
It turns out, somebody had taken out a payday loan in Frank’s name, combining his name, address and date of birth with their own bank account, mobile number and email address. The amount due for repayment had already doubled by the time Frank was informed.
It took Frank days to get through to Lending Stream’s fraud department. He was promised callbacks that never came and continually got hung up on.
Frank was obviously concerned, as his credit rating had been significantly damaged by actions that were not his own (and he had £440 in debt!).
Finally, Frank got through to Lending Stream and filled in an ID theft affidavit form. He will have to wait 45 days for his credit rating to return to normal.
It is extremely concerning how easily a fraudster was accepted for a loan, using just a few basic details, and an online application process.
It is no wonder that complaints to the Financial Ombudsman service about payday lenders have tripled in the past year.
Frank’s case, if nothing else, reminds us just how important it is to stay savvy online.
Some tips include: Keep your details secure by having difficult-to-guess passwords, and different ones, on each platform. Install a good anti-virus programme on your computer. Ensure your phone and devices are passcode-protected. Only use secure websites and online shopping. Stay up-to-date with scams and what’s going on online. And never give out your personal details, unless you are certain that you are in fact talking to an organisation or individual you trust (e.g. just because your ‘bank’ calls doesn’t mean it is really them).
Frank’s experience is also a reminder that many payday loan companies are not so trustworthy or secure. Would you risk your credit rating with a company that will grant a loan to a fraudster, with no checks in place? We wouldn’t!
If you feel you have been unfairly granted a payday loan that you couldn’t afford to pay back, our financial claims department may be able to help.
Get in touch by phoning 0345 373 3737, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out our online enquiry form.