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How Cyber Criminals Used PAN Details of Celebrities to Carry Out Credit Card Fraud? 

A Fintech Startup Based in Pune Issued Credit Cards in The Name of Celebrities such as MS Dhoni, Abhishek Bachchan, and Shilpa Shetty to the Fraudsters who acquired the PAN Card details of the big Bollywood celebrities and cricket players to get the credit card
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A Fintech Startup Based in Pune Issued Credit Cards in The Name of Celebrities such as MS Dhoni, Abhishek Bachchan, and Shilpa Shetty to the Fraudsters who acquired the PAN Card details of the big Bollywood celebrities and cricket players to get the credit cards, but the question is how do they manage to get the PAN card details of the big time celebrities and how you can keep yourself safe from such frauds, read here… 

One Card, a fintech startup based in Pune, issued credit cards in the names of various Bollywood stars and cricketers to fraudsters who reportedly obtained the PAN Card details of such individuals via their GST Identity Numbers, which are available online in the public domain.

The Cops have nabbed 5 culprits in this fraud case and sent them into judicial custody for further investigation. According to the confessions of the accused, they managed to get the GST numbers of the celebrities from Google wherein the first two digits of GSTIN are state codes and the next 10 digits are PAN numbers. Together with the birth date and the PAN number make the PAN details, said the officials.

As such fraudulent cases are on the rise and it is crucial to know about the details and the loopholes regarding the PAN card number and its online verification.

A Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a ten-digit unique alphanumeric code issued by the Income Tax Department to identify the country’s income taxpayers and also works as identification proof.

HOW PAN CARD DETAILS CAN BE MISUSED:

1. Applying for Credit Cards or Personal Loans-

Your PAN information can be used by fraudsters to apply for credit cards or loans and finance illegal activities. The victim, however, shall have full responsibility for making debt repayments and dealing with the associated legal repercussions.

2. Illegal jewellery Purchases-

In India, giving PAN information is required when purchasing jewellery over a specific threshold. As a result, con artists can use the victim’s PAN to buy pricey jewellery, and the income tax division will call the victim to account for the consequences.

3. Renting Hotel rooms and Vehicles-

In order to check into a hotel room in India, you must present identification. In order to conceal their identities, scammers typically insert personal information from stolen PAN cards. In event of any legal involvement, this scam can be used to mislead the authorities.

4. Trafficking of commodities-

 PAN cards can also be misused in renting a car in your name and using it for trafficking smuggling, and other illegal activities.

5. Stealing sensitive data from third parties-

PAN and other information must be provided in order to create bank accounts, get postpaid connections, use social media, verify an employee’s background, or make reservations with travel companies. The processing is often carried out by a third party. If the servers of these organisations are not secure, it is very likely that your information will be compromised.

HOW TO CHECK IF SOMEONE IS USING YOUR PAN DETAILS:

Any authorized/unauthorized loan will be depicted in your CIBIL or credit score; hence this score can be used to determine if someone is using your PAN card. Below are the steps to check the credit report:

Step 1: There are various bureaus like TransUnion CIBIL, Equifax, Experian, Paytm, Bank Bazaar or CRIF High Mark available on the internet. You can choose whichever seems convenient for you.

Step 2: Open the website and search for the option of “Check credit score”. It is usually free of cost, while some websites might ask you to choose a plan for getting a detailed credit score.

Step 3: Enter accurate data regarding your date of birth, name, email ID, registered mobile number and PAN. You might have to verify your mobile number with an OTP.

Step 4: You will be able to access your credit score. It will also include the loans that are currently existing in your name

HOW TO AVOID THE PAN CARD FRAUD:

  1. Avoid entering full names and dates of birth on dubious sites. Check credit scores frequently, and report any inconsistencies to regulatory authorities.
  2. Before entering PAN on websites check the site’s authenticity by looking for an HTTPS prefix in the URL which indicates that the site has an SSL certification and is safe to transact on.
  3. Use other ID details, such as driver’s license, voter ID, and Aadhaar cards, which are less vulnerable.
  4. Self-attest PAN card photocopies by signing, noting the date, and stating the reason for submission to the authentic people/companies.
  5. As it is no longer compulsory, de-link your Aadhaar card and bank accounts.
  6. Delete PAN details or personal information saved on any mobile device.

HOW TO REPORT ABOUT MISUSE OF PAN CARD:

  1. Visit the official website of TIN NSDL and search the customer care section on the home page.
  2. On clicking the ‘customer care you will find the ‘complaints/queries’ tab on the drop-down menu.
  3. Click on the tab to open a complaint form.
  4. Enter your personal details and describe the nature of the complaint. By entering the Captcha code, you can submit the form.
  5. Your complaint will be registered.
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