Have you been reading reports about fake loans (loans taken using forged documents)? You may ask, how can this happen? An impostor uses your PAN in the application and gets a loan, the loan shows up against your name (and not the actual borrower). Again, such fraudulent intent should have been caught during KYC stage, but KYC violations have been quite blatant. The lender shall be blamed for such violations. Many victims got to know only when they applied for fresh loans (and their application was rejected due to poor credit score) or when they faced harassment at the hands of collection agents. Are you worried that a fake loan has been taken against your PAN?
How Does a Fake Loan Affect You?
A fake loan is unlikely to be serviced. Non-payment of any loan would affect your credit score adversely. Your credit score is an indicator of your credit worthiness. Higher the credit score, the more creditworthy you are and greater your chances of getting a loan. A poor credit score will adversely affect your chances of getting a loan.
How Do I Find out if There Is a Fake Loan in My Name?
There is a very simple way to find out. Download credit report from a Credit Bureau (also known as Credit Information Companies). A credit report has information about all your loans, even the fake ones. If you find a fake loan entry in the report, take remedial action.
I know you have many questions. What are credit bureaus? How do they get all this information? What information do credit reports have? How do I download the report and how much does it cost? If my credit report has a fake loan entry, what should I do? Let’s find out.
What are Credit Bureaus?
The credit bureaus (CBs) maintain credit history of borrowers. You can download such history from the CBs in the form of a credit report. A credit report contains details about
- Your credit score
- Your personal and contact details
- Account details (loans, credit cards and repayment status). A fake loan would show up here.
- Enquiry information
Using your credit data, the CBs calculate your credit score using a proprietary mechanism. While the exact scoring model is not disclosed, the major factors considered for calculation are:
- Your payment history: If you have been paying your dues on time, your credit score gets positively affected.
- Credit limit utilization: Higher utilization affects credit score adversely.
- Percentage of unsecured loans (compared to overall loans): Higher percentage is considered a negative.
- Too many loan sanctions and loan applications: Points to credit hunger. Not good.
- Vintage: If you have been servicing debt responsibly for a long time, this affects your credit score favourably.
There are 4 credit bureaus in India. CIBIL is the oldest and the most popular. Each CB can have a different score range. For instance, CIBIL score can range from 300 to 900. A CIBIL score above 750 is considered good and increases your chances of getting a loan. A good credit score can qualify you for a low interest rate too. A poor credit score can affect your loan chances adversely.
Where Do Credit Bureaus Get All This Information From?
From the lenders. When you take a loan, the financial institutions (banks/NBFCs/HFCs) are required to report the transaction to all the credit bureaus. The lenders also report the repayment status for your loan/credit card account and whether your account is regular or overdue. Hence, the CBs have information about all your loans. Moreover, whenever you apply for a loan or a credit card, the lender checks your credit score as part of due diligence.
Where Can I Download a Free Credit Report From?
Downloading a credit report from CB will cost you Rs 400-500. You wonder if you must shell out money just to check if a fake loan has been taken on your name. Not fair. Don’t worry. RBI regulations allow you to download a free credit report per calendar year per credit bureau.
There are 4 credit bureaus in India. Thus, you can get 4 free credit reports (1 per Credit Bureau) each calendar year (January 1-December 31). You can use these credit reports to check if a fake loan has been taken against your PAN.
Here are the links:
- CIBIL (https://www.cibil.com/freecibilscore)
- Experian (https://consumer.experian.in/ECV-OLN/signIn)
- Equifax (https://www.equifax.co.in/)
- CRIF High Mark (https://cir.crifhighmark.com/free-credit-report/#/freeflow)
As per RBI rules, the CBs must provide you the full report (and not an abridged version). Hence, you need not worry about report quality only because it is free. Even apart from fake loan concerns, there are good reasons to check your credit score regularly, especially if you plan to take out a loan/credit card soon.
You want to figure out whether a fake loan has been taken under your name. As we know, all lenders must report the loan transactions to CBs. Hence, if a fake loan has been taken in your name (using forged documents), the loan would show up in your credit report.
What Do I Do if I Find an Entry for a Fake Loan?
You can raise a dispute with the credit bureau. However, note that the credit bureau can’t make corrections on its own. It is not supposed to. It will forward your request to the concerned lender (financial institution) and wait for the feedback.
Given the way things work, you must also reach out to the lender directly and raise an alarm.
Make some noise on social media too. My experience suggests this helps expedite things.
Given that the lender under question may already be aware of the situation, when you reach out to them for clarification and rectification, it can try to obfuscate things by making unreasonable demands (asking you to share all kinds of documents). Here is an example.
Stand your ground. Do not share documents such as your PAN card, Aadhar card etc. A fake loan would have been issued using fake/forged documents. In such a case, the lender won’t have requisite documents. However, if you share the correct documents with the lender (based on lender request), the lender will have what it didn’t have. Can be used against you. Hence, exercise discretion while dealing with the lender.