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Six steps to take in case of Identity theft

Wednesday, August 08, 2012 by Madan Mohan

it104n4Forgot your Credit card at a restaurant on Friday night? Lost your wallet on a holiday? You might be worried only about card being misused, but you could also become a victim of identity theft. The thief who stole your Credit card or the wallet could use your PAN card or driving license to do anything-take a loan from the bank, open a trading account in your name, change your mailing address and get a new credit card in your name. But don't panic!

Keep your cool and follow the six steps below before fraudsters could swipe out your bank balance or distort your credit history.

  • Block the Credit cards and alert the Credit Bureau about fraud: Keep the customer care numbers handy. Block the cards first and then think of everything else. Banks and card vendors such as Visa and MasterCard have a 24-hour call centre for reporting lost or stolen cards.
  • Lodge a First Information Report (FIR): Lodge a complaint listing out items lost in the wallet. A copy of the report will come in handy if transaction disputes arise with the bank or the bureau.
  • Don't make a public announcement: Don't announce your theft at the place it happened. You might end up alerting the thieves.
  • Try nabbing the thieves red-handed: If it was at a restaurant, chances are that it could be one of the waiters. The SMS alerts from the bank will give you the vendor name where the card was used. Try enquiring at those vendors.
  • Close the accounts opened in your name: Before your credit history gets distorted for unpaid bills and other things, close the bank accounts or cancel credit cards opened fraudulently in your name. Keep the FIR copy handy as banks may ask for it.  Once closed, inform the bureaus about the same, so that your Credit history doesn't get affected. 
  • Keep an eye on your Credit Report:The fraudsters may continue to use your identity without you even getting to know for a long time. So keep checking your credit report regularly and report immediately any unfamiliar enquiry, fake loan account in your name, etc. 

Madan Mohan is your banker turned counsellor. Having spent more than three decades in the banking industry, Madan took up the role of Chief Counsellor at ICICI Bank promoted, Disha Financial Counselling Centre. During his five year tenure, he helped distressed customers come out debt trap and helped others from falling into one.

Follow Madan on Google+    Email Madan

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