Wonga Taking Money from Accounts of Customers That Say They Were Victims of Identity Theft

Wonga.com LogoSo here is an interesting story about Wonga. There is a web site called This Is Money that seems to be part of The Daily Mail (yuck! – Ed) so obviously anyone that lends money is a criminal. There are some interesting points but it doesn’t show how easily fraudsters can get access to peoples’ personal information so that they can abuse it!

It is understandable how frustrating it can be when a fraudster clones someone’s credit card to make purchases and some of the frauds are very well orchestrated – even making repayments in the name of the card holder to get the credit limit increased before going on a spending spree. However people need to understand that having their information compromised is their problem and no one is going to help them. We all know that the government is reducing the budget to fight fraud – unless there is the chance of a great Proceeds of Crime recovery to top up their coffers – a few people getting defrauded is not really of interest in the grand scheme of things.

The article states that “Wonga will not specify what other identifying details are checked before loans are granted”.  It is surely obvious why they wouldn’t! If fraudsters are able to do this by guessing what checks Wonga do why would they let them know what else to look for?

So what is the story here? Wonga lent money to people who used compromised identities. It can happen and given the number of loans Wonga make a month it would seem there is an acceptable level of fraud they may face. Recently Fraud Industry specialist Darren Hodder commented on the instance of online fraud he would expect and one of the issues he pointed out is the “grey area” between an intentional fraud and someone who is a “high risk” or bad debtor. Naturally Wonga target those who have very short term needs and so the general “risk profile” is very high. This makes a direct comparison with a traditional or mainstream lender somewhat academic.  A frustrating thing about fraud is that there is no clear cut and universally agreed definition of what constitutes a fraudulent activity.

There are however simple steps that consumers can take in order to better protect their identity and personal information. These include limiting the amount of personal details that are made available via social media networks. Try logging out of all sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and then do a Google search on your own name. Are you happy with the results? If not then review the security settings to restrict what is published across the internet and consider deleting anything sensitive such as your date of birth, education history and mother’s maiden name. Also do you fully know and trust those who you link with via social media? There are some informative and entertaining videos from a campaign led by Action Fraud called “The Devil’s in Your Details”

Identity fraud isn’t also just restricted to individuals; organisations can also suffer from identity fraud! Some simple advice can be found on a blog that Darren wrote on behalf of EzBob.

So yes it is awful when someone has their identity compromised. We must all agree on that and try to avoid it happening to us. We know the government and police are not doing enough to stop this. While Wonga do not seem to be at fault with the way they handled it, their use of Continued Payment Authority on debit cards must be questioned.

But really Wonga are NOT the criminals. Why not focus on the criminal networks not the VICTIMS (both Wonga and their genuine customers) of a very real crime?



(The above blog first appeared on http://anythingpayday.co.uk and is reproduced with kind permission) 

Having run cheque cashing stores and a franchise of up to 130 franchisees around the UK cashing cheques and offering payday loans Neil has an in-depth knowledge of the payday loans industry.

As one of the UK’s top Payday Loan Consultant, Neil assists lenders to start in the UK and develop existing businesses. Neil is able to provide or facilitate all the financial facilities required to start a payday or other lending business including Bank Account, Direct Debit, Merchant Acquiring and UK Faster Payments.

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