The procedure for obtaining loans and credits has been simplified, leaving a lot of loopholes for scammers. Specialists of the Center for Financial Expertise of Roskachestvo explained whether it is really possible to get a loan without your knowledge.

What to do if you receive SMS and messages about an approved loan?

Such mailings come from both large banks and dubious microfinance organizations. However, the message that “you have been approved for a loan for a certain amount” does not mean that the loan has already been taken for you. It happens that this is a common tactic to lure customers, which can be intrusive, but is unlikely to be of interest to law enforcement.

As Sergei Kuzmenko, senior specialist in testing digital products of Roskachestvo, said, if you demonstrate awareness and confident behavior during a suspicious call, the attackers will not pester you and continue to call. Experts also recommend taking a closer look at the new service of mobile operators – a virtual number. This option can be convenient when using a regular number is undesirable just for the sake of maintaining confidentiality – for registering on websites, forums, in order to receive, for example, an activation code or issue a customer card in a store.

Can I get a loan using a lost passport or passport data?

It is becoming increasingly common for banks and MFIs to issue small amounts when applying online. And for this, the applicant only needs passport data, a photo or a scan of the passport.

We provide such information to access various, most everyday services: from fitness clubs to telecom operators. This means that only a leak of passport data with a passport scan is enough for fraudsters to be able to take out a loan in someone else’s name. In addition, attackers often hack into consumer sites and even government portals, then using the information obtained for their own illegal purposes.

For a small loan, passport data and SNILS may be enough. Registration takes place without personal presence. That is why it is so important not to expose your data in social networks and not to fill out forms on dubious sites.

An even more deplorable situation is when a person loses his passport and does not immediately notice the loss. If the document falls into the hands of scammers, they can take dozens of microloans in one day from different institutions.

Banks and MFIs check the authenticity of documents and identity, otherwise the number of fraudulent issuances would increase thousands of times. Institutions that monitor their reputation carefully approach verification of identity and documents, but scammers still find loopholes:

• Financial institutions do not adequately verify customer data. MFIs and banks can engage third-party services to check documents, and they only perform a superficial check. Some MFIs do not carry out additional steps of identification, limiting themselves to passport data, and fraudsters easily use this.

• Fraudsters use clever ways to bypass verification. Identification and verification of documents may require a video conference or a personal meeting with the borrower, as well as, for example, a photo of the borrower with documents in hand. However, criminals have learned to bypass these barriers. With the level of availability of high technology, it costs nothing to fake photos and even videos. For a personal meeting, scammers either look for a similar person, or disguise themselves as the owner of the documents, forging a signature for him.

• Fraudsters attract accomplices on the side of financial institutions. It is unprofitable for banks and MFIs to lend money to clients who will never return it. But at the same time, banking organizations are interested in profit. Some dishonest employees of banks and MFIs are interested in personal financial profit. Fraudsters can pre-process some organization on forums or TG channels, looking for an accomplice on the side of the bank, ready to approve a loan to scammers. Thus, the bank employee is included in the share.

Can you get a loan for a lost smartphone?

Such cases are possible if the smartphone was stolen or lost, and you did not have time to block the SIM card. If sufficient security measures are not installed on the banking application, fraudsters may have time to take out a loan through the application. At the same time, it will be difficult to prove later that you did not take the loan. In the conditions of banking services, banks prescribe that the bank is not liable in the event of “the loss or transfer by the client of his own mobile phone to unauthorized persons.” All transactions confirmed from the phone are considered to be confirmed by you personally.

What precautions to take to avoid becoming a victim of scammers?

• Take good care of your passport. If you lose it, report it to the police immediately. Even more so if your passport is stolen. In this case, you will not have to pay a fine.

• Do not send scans or photos of your passport to suspicious websites or strangers. If you send scans of documents by mail or via messenger, then delete the original messages. Thus, if your accounts are hacked, the data from the documents will not get to the attackers.

• Take care of photocopies of your passport, do not leave them in plain sight, do not forget in photocopy services, etc.

• Set additional authentication levels on your phone and banking application.

• Check your credit history. To do this, make a request to the credit bureaus to find out if loans have been issued in your name. This is a two-stage procedure: first, at the State Services, you need to find out in which bureau your data is located. Then, on the BCI website, you need to send an online request for a credit report. You can do this twice a year for free. For other requests you will have to pay.

Experts recommend regularly checking your credit history, even if you have never applied for credit funds. So you will be able to timely detect the loan taken by fraudsters or their attempts to do so, as a result of which you will be able to minimize the negative consequences.