Your application has been approved: how scammers can get a loan for you

If the authorities are doing everything possible to classify the personal information of the security forces, then your data is an open book and, most likely, is already in circulation. Therefore, it is not surprising that you receive messages from time to time about allegedly approved loans.

But is it worth paying attention to them, can they get a loan for you without your knowledge and what to do if you owe the bank without knowing it? We asked the lawyers about this.

Let’s start with some statistics. The Central Bank has calculated that in the third quarter of 2020 (there is no more relevant data in the Central Bank of the Russian Federation yet), Russian residents spent 2.5 billion rubles, without knowing it. This is the volume of transactions with electronic means of payment (bank cards and electronic wallets) without the consent of customers. They managed to return 13% of the total amount.

In the third quarter of 2019, this figure was 1.9 billion, while the percentage of reimbursed funds was at the same level. In general, if someone needs your money, they will take it, and it will be more difficult to return the accumulated (by you) and stolen (by scammers).

I was approved for an application that I did not submit. What to do?

Messages that you have received approval for a loan that you have not applied for is a marketing ploy like cold calling.

“When they write that the application has been approved, and even write the application number, this is to give more weight to their message,” says lawyer Damir Sadritdinov. – The fact is that if you are a normal bank customer, then information about you, about your phone is everywhere. For example, if I, as a private person, want to choose a client to whom I can give money at interest, I can easily buy this database on the information market and sit and call on it. Because I will know that they have a normal credit history, and if they gave out five, six or seven loans before me, then they will most likely give back my loan.

Damir Sadritdinov is a lawyer, defender of consumers of financial services (banks, insurance companies), a member of the expert council on the protection of the rights of consumers of financial services at the Bank of Russia.

But it’s one thing when you receive credit spam from a bank you are a client of (for example, you have a salary card issued there), and another thing is if the message comes from completely incomprehensible and dubious companies. In addition to banks, your data can easily end up in the hands of microfinance organizations (MFIs) and credit cooperatives. All the necessary bank data of borrowers, according to experts, has been in circulation for fifteen years.

“Nowadays, the disclosure of personal data surpasses all boundaries,” says lawyer Andrey Konyshev. – This is so accessible to banking structures, MFOs and other organizations, fraudsters that it is impossible to reinsure yourself in this regard – I just do not see a way out of this situation. When you receive such messages or calls, it means that your confidential information has already been leaked to some sources. Very often we see from articles when “Sberbank” was repeatedly hacked by hackers and received personal information. And it contains, among other things, a phone number, last name, first name, patronymic. Naturally, there is likely to be passport data as well.

Andrey Konyshev is a lawyer – partner of the law firm “Katsailidi & Partners”, graduated from the Ural State Law Academy, a lawyer in civil and criminal cases.

If you want to punish annoying spammers who have found your data, you can contact the police with a complaint about the ad imposed. But whether you will achieve your goal is a big question.

– In fact, this is an imposed advertising, when a person is not just offered to take out a loan, but convinced that this loan is approved for him, – says Andrey Konyshev. – But the police officers, I think, will not deal with this. The most they can do is check the phone number from which they called you. At the same time, it very often happens that they call not even from city numbers, but from cell phone numbers. They will check and understand that the number belongs not to a legal entity, not to a bank, but to some individual. And there are no grounds to bring an individual to justice.

Can I get a loan?

If you are simply annoyed with spam by lending organizations, it is not so bad. Scammers can really use your documents. It is not difficult to get a loan for a figurehead using a passport copy or in another way, if you know how.

“Right now, I am engaged in two cases, while working on one I was deeply digging information related to the fact that the mobile bank is tied to the handset itself in the mobile application of Sberbank and VTB,” says Damir Sadritdinov. – If the owner has lost this pipe, and another (the fraudster) has found it, then he can, in principle, use this pipe to enter the mobile bank and carry out any operations. The bank client is responsible for using the handset with a mobile bank linked to it. This is written in the rules, but few people remember and know about them. Another technology is to make a clone of a SIM card through telecom operators and with the help of this clone they enter a mobile bank. It turns out that the owner, the client of the bank, officially comes in. Technically, if a person has made a clone of a SIM card and has your passport data, then he can easily apply for a loan in your name.

“This is a very common type of fraud,” says Andrey Konyshev. – This year it somehow more or less began to decline, but during the pandemic, and before that, they often addressed this kind of problem. People complained that a writ of execution had come to their name and even went through a trial on them, and, of course, they did not take any credit. These are fraudulent activities. Perhaps one can try to find the guilty persons, but the injured party probably doesn’t even need this. The aggrieved party first of all needs to absolve itself of responsibility for this loan obligation. This can be proven through a court of law.

How can I prove that I didn’t take anything?

If there is no court decision yet, and you have already learned that a loan has been issued for you, you need to contact the bank, demand a copy of the signed loan agreement and a photo of the person who took the loan according to your documents. In most cases, the borrower is photographed, a photograph is required, even if it is an online application. In fact, if a loan was issued for you, it turns out that you are asking for your own data, they are obliged to provide them. Another point by which you can prove your innocence is the signature on the loan agreement. It is unlikely that it will be identical to yours.

“If someone came to a microfinance organization with a copy of your passport, signed for you, everything is simple,” says Damir Sadritdinov. – The court will demand all these documents, look at the signature, check whether you were in this place at all. Because it happens that you live in the same city, and at the same time, the MFO gave you a loan in the conditional Vladivostok. In court, this is proved quite simply. If someone made a clone of a SIM card, then you can also prove it. Because when the clone is activated, your sim card stops working. According to the billing, the telecom operator will see that the SIM card has stopped working, a new one has been issued. Worse when you just lost your phone with a mobile app. Consider that you have lost the key to the safe. Someone found it and used it. It is logical that the bank should not be held responsible for this.

How do I know that a loan has been issued to me?

The most elementary agenda by which you will find out that you were given a loan that you did not apply for is an SMS message about the operation on your account. Banks are obliged to inform the client about any movements. According to the law on the national payment system, if a person reported a suspicious transaction within 24 hours, the bank is obliged to suspend the transaction and find out who the author is – the person himself or someone else.

“Unfortunately, there is no law obliging banks to inform you about a loan,” says Damir Sadritdinov. – The loan is issued, as a rule, to your own bank account. That is, it is either replenished, or a new account is opened and money is credited to it. If the scammers have done this, you can return the money to the bank – you have it. But, as a rule, scammers immediately make an operation to transfer money from your account to someone else’s card. You will receive an SMS about it, you will see it, and you need to react to it promptly. From the SMS, the person understands and knows that the loan has been issued and the money has gone from his account. The only way. This is the best way.

But if a loan is issued by an MFO, you will not know about it at all right away – only when an order is issued in court to recover the amount. Or when a claim comes from an MFI. Well, if collectors began to call you with a demand to return the money that you did not take, then it’s too late: most likely, from the moment the loan was issued, it took from a year to three years.

How to protect yourself?

If you are worried about your credit history and for every SMS message about an approved loan, you can make a monthly inquiry to the credit bureau and see if any loans have been issued in your name. This procedure can be done for free once a year, and for money – at least every day. The cost of one request is from 400 to 1000 rubles, depending on the service.

But the best way, experts say, is to live within your means. Change your lifestyle and rebuild yourself so as not to make unnecessary purchases, and use loans only for a mortgage. Everything else can be earned.

How to recognize scammers?

If you decide to call back the phone number indicated in the message in order to still get a loan, you should alert you to a few points. First, when you are asked to make an advance payment (“We will give you money, we only need a blitz translation and payment for courier delivery of papers”). Serious financial institutions do not require any advance payment, loan approval commission, insurance payment, courier delivery or other services from the borrower.

Secondly, you can find the organization that sent the SMS on the Internet (but in no case follow the links in the message). If the company has a website, check that there is an address, a hotline or city number, an e-mail address, information about a license issued by the Bank of Russia and confirming the right to operate. Is there no organization in the register of the Bank of Russia that offers a loan? Pass information about her to the police or Rospotrebnadzor.

Confusing loan conditions and zero requirements for the borrower is the third key point. Normal financial organizations clearly prescribe everything and hide nothing. In addition, banks and MFIs check the client’s credit history. If the organization doesn’t care about it, you are being deceived. File a report with the police and tell them all the details of the scammers.

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