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  • Top 5 Signs You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

    Identity theft can cause much financial and emotional damage. It could drown you in debt and affect your credit score negatively. Identity theft is a crime, and you have to protect yourself from it. Being aware of all potential threats is the right way to prevent identity theft.

    What is it exactly?

    Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal and financial information for their benefit. Such details include your bank account details, credit card details, NRIC details and passport details. Your personal information will be used to purchase banking products and services such as credit cards or loans like personal loan, car loan & home loan.

    They can make unauthorised transactions under your name and sometimes can even sell your information to illegal immigrants or other companies. At times they can use your information to make illegal transactions. Since it is done under your name, it would affect you personally and financially.

    You need to be extremely vigilant regarding your personal information.

    Here are top 5 signs to recognise identity theft.

    1. Unusual transactions

    If you find purchases or transactions that you don’t remember making or recognise, then it means that your identity is compromised.

    What to do?

    • Notify your bank or financial institution immediately if you find an unauthorised transaction.
    • File a police report.
    • Lodge a report at Bank Negara Malaysia.

    How to prevent it?

    • Check your credit card statement or account statement every month.
    • Keep checking your account details online regularly to spot identity theft sooner.

    2. Missing bills and documents

    If you are not receiving your bills and post regularly or on time, it is a possibility that someone is using them.

    What to do?

    • Call your bank immediately to check whether they have been sending mails.
    • Update your correct address if you have moved.

    How to prevent it?

    • Check your mail constantly.
    • Switch over to e-statements and e-bills if allowed by your bank.

    3. Declined loan and card applications

    If your loan or credit card application is declined despite having an excellent credit score, it could indicate stolen identity. Even credit inquiry calls for a new account that you are not aware of is a red flag.

    What to do?

    • Check your credit report immediately for any inconsistencies.
    • Notify your credit reporting agency immediately if you find any inaccurate or unauthorised information on your credit report.

    How to prevent it?

    • Check your credit report regularly.
    • Keep a track of your credit score.

    4. Unusual activity on social media

    If you find your social media account has been accessed from a different location which you are not aware of, it could mean that your account has been hacked. Fraudsters would use your social media to gather your personal and confidential information.

    What to do?

    • Change your password immediately.
    • Notify the social media admin immediately.

    How to prevent it?

    • Keep changing passwords regularly.
    • Update your security questions frequently.
    • Do not share your password with anyone.
    • Do not access social media in public places or through public Wi-Fi.

    5. Calls from debt collectors

    If you receive calls from debt collectors for a loan or credit card that you are not aware of, then you are a victim of identity theft.

    What to do?

    • File a police report immediately.
    • Lodge a report at Bank Negara Malaysia.

    How to prevent it?

    • Be aware at all times about your financial transactions and history.
    • Check your bank accounts regularly.
    • Do not share your personal and financial information with anyone.

    Other ways to prevent identity theft

    • Report a stolen or lost credit card immediately.
    • Setup alerts on your financial accounts.
    • Use a complex password for online financial accounts.
    • Use a secure network connection.
    • Install updated malware protection software on your computer.
    • Make online transactions only on secured websites and over a secured network connection.
    • Do not share any confidential information such as your bank account number, credit card number and ATM PIN even to bank officials.
    • Shred all your personal and financial documents before discarding.
    • Ensure your credit card number is not copied or duplicated at any stores or restaurants.
    • Make sure that no one can see your financial details while transacting at an ATM.
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