PAN Card is one of the essential things that act as your Identity proof for document verification. Banks and other NBFIs offer instant personal loans without collateral and minimum documents like Aadhar Card and PAN Card. As a result, it is considered more convenient and easily accessible. However, in recent times, there has been a rise in criminal activities like the misuse of someone else’s PAN number to avail of instant loans. It has raised an impending alert among the public to know if someone is misusing their PAN card number.
Therefore, this article will guide you on how to check if you are a victim of PAN card fraud and know how you can prevent yourself from such a mishap.
Instances Of Your PAN Card Misuse
- Government regulations such as linking your Aadhaar Card with your PAN Card for opening bank accounts have made it easier for hackers to hack all your financial information in one place.
- Moreover, some agencies or third parties can access your PAN Card information when you get postpaid connections or employee background verification. As a result, it increases the chances of your data being misused.
- Sometimes it is necessary to enter your PAN number while booking a tatkal ticket. The information with your name and PAN number is displayed at railway stations, making it easier for anyone to access the details and use them illegally. Hence, to prevent this, the Government has started taking necessary actions to prevent identity theft by displaying only the last four digits of the PAN number.
- Travel agents can also access your PAN number when you provide your personal information for Visa applications, travel bookings, travel portals, etc. Even if these sites are secured, hackers can use any vulnerable situations to misuse your personal information.
- You might give your personal information and PAN number in some unsafe instant loan apps which provide personal loans with just PAN Card and Aadhaar Card. It makes your data vulnerable to being hacked by fraudsters.
How to Check If Your PAN Card is Misused?
Here are three simple ways to check if your PAN number is misused.
Check Your Credit Score and Credit Report
One of the simplest ways to check if you are a victim of PAN Card fraud is by checking your credit report. The credit report includes general information such as your payment history, credit inquiries, loans taken under your name, etc. So, if you find any unidentified loans taken under your name, they will be reflected in your report, and ultimately your credit score will also be affected. Hence, you must check your report regularly, at least once a year, to identify potential threats. You can also check your credit report from major credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian, or CRIF High Mark.
Also Read: Steps on How to Check Your Experian Credit Score for Free
Check Your Financial Reports from Fintech Platforms
Many fintech platforms provide options for checking your financial reports with your credit score and loan details. You can quickly check your credit score using Buddy Score and get the credit report instantly. Here are a few steps you can follow to review your financial report.
- Visit the official website of Buddy Loan and select “Check Credit Score.”
- Enter the required information such as date of birth, email address, registered mobile number, and PAN.
- Once you enter the OTP, you will get your credit score and report.
- If you find any loans that you did not take, report them to the respective credit bureau and get them rectified immediately.
Check Your Form 26A
Form 26A is an Annual Tax Statement (Income Tax Returns) issued by the Income Tax Department. It includes all your income tax records of all your financial transactions and tax payments that you have made using your PAN card. Form 26A helps identify any fraudulent activity early and report a dispute to rectify it.
How does PAN Card Fraud Affect Your Credit Score?
When someone uses your PAN card to get loans without your knowledge, it gets reflected on your credit report, affecting your credit score negatively. The problem is that you may get to know this issue only when a lender checks your credit score to approve your loan application. Hence, to avoid such situations, you must frequently check your score and check your credit report at least once a year. If you find any errors or loans disbursed without your knowledge, take the necessary actions immediately.
How To Protect Yourself From PAN Card Fraud?
You might not even be aware that your PAN number is misused until you take action to check it. Here are a few simple ways you can avoid getting into the trap of PAN card scams in the future.
- Check the website’s authenticity before entering the PAN card details. Instead, use other documents as your ID proof, such as a driver’s license, voter ID, or Aadhaar card, which are much safer.
- Whenever you submit a photocopy of your PAN card, sign it and state the purpose of submitting your PAN card as proof of identity.
- Avoid entering your personal information on unknown websites, such as your full name and date of birth. Hackers can use this information to track your PAN details.
- Check your credit score and credit report regularly.
- Check Form 26A of your Income Tax Returns records to know all your financial transactions using your PAN card.
Therefore, these steps will help you identify any suspicious activity or unauthorized loans sanctioned on your name using your PAN card.
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Also Read: Can Late Credit Card Payments or Loan Payments Affect Your Credit Score?
To sum up, you should never share your PAN number unnecessarily as it is highly confidential information. Moreover, it is best to follow the above-mentioned preventive measures to protect yourself from PAN Card scams in the future. Last but not least, it is essential to check your credit score regularly to identify any suspicious activity on your PAN card early.