Immediate steps you must take in case of identity theft

Immediate steps you must take in case of identity theft  22nd November 2022

Personal information is an asset that one must safeguard at all costs. In the olden days, identity theft was limited to misrepresentation by misuse of a person's name and identity, but in the modern world, its implications are far more severe.

In the era of digitalisation, where a person's identity proofs are linked to their bank accounts and other financial databases, it is easy for a criminal to wreak havoc with a stolen identity. The most vulnerable personal identities generally stolen include social media accounts, PAN, Aadhar, email, and bank details.

While different kinds of thefts and infringements are often discussed, identity theft insurance in India is an under-discussed topic that few are aware of. It is essential to protect oneself from such contingent threats using adequate insurance. In the backdrop of a crisis, they play a vital role in recouping losses.

If you suspect that your identity has been impersonated, here are the steps you must take immediately.

1. Identify the violation:
The first step after discovering that there seems to be some misuse of your information is to determine the extent of unauthorised action. Once you have identified the broad area, which may be one of the following- credit, taxes, or government benefits fraud, amongst others, try to identify the source of misuse of information.

2. Notify appropriate authorities:
While you can trace the source of misuse by jogging your memory, it is often infeasible. Even if you can trace the origin, your immediate action should be to notify the concerned authorities of the fraud details. This means that there will be a different concerned authority to approach each type of identity misuse.
For example, you should notify the Department of Telecommunications if your documents have been used to register for a SIM card. For cybercrimes or online fraud, you should approach the cybercrime police department. Similarly, you should immediately notify your bank to stop the payments in case you witness any unauthorised bank transactions.

3. Identify the extent of the damage:
Once you have identified and reported the problem, it is time to find the damage incurred. You may simplify this by checking your bank statements and any financial databases by scrutinising any recent transactions that appear to be unordinary and unauthorised by you.

4. File for damages:
Once you have a general estimate of the amount of loss incurred, you can file a lawsuit under the existing laws in India that provide relief against such fraud after fulfilling the conditions. A lawyer's aid can help handle the case legally.

While these are the steps you can take after realising the theft of your identity, here are some precautionary measures to ensure that your confidential data is not breached.

● Never save passwords:
While saving passwords to your accounts provides convenience during login, it also increases your susceptibility to fraudsters looking for opportunities to steal your information.

● Do not use unreliable sites:
One must always be careful when sharing basic details or banking information on any site, especially for new or unrecognisable sites. Do your due diligence before taking on such risks to ascertain its authenticity.

● Utilise multiple authentications:
Most sites now offer 2-factor and 3-factor authentication to secure your account. Ensure that you optimise such facilities to keep your accounts and data safe.

● Dispose of physical copies of identification:
It is common for most official processes to require the submission of physical copies of original identification records. Ensure that the printer and receiver get rid of the documents immediately after the official use if fulfilled.

● Purchase identity theft insurance:
While it is not so common, it is ideal to purchase theft insurance in India to protect yourself from identity theft in case the need arises.

The constant development of technology brings convenience to our lives while opening new windows for mischievous minds to scam people and make profits. Always have the mindset to follow the above preventive measures to minimise or eliminate identity theft threats. And don't forget to have the best theft insurance in India for your rescue if you find yourself trapped in a fraud or compromised identity.

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Disclaimer: The information provided above is for illustrative purposes only. To get more details, please refer to policy wordings and prospectus before purchasing a policy.