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Loans that were never availed are showing up on people’s credit reports

Many have approached local police and RBI citing fraudPremium
Many have approached local police and RBI citing fraud

These loans have seemingly been taken in the past 6 months using stolen customer details where only the PAN was found to be genuine, the complaints lodged by borrowers alleged, indicating large-scale identity theft. Some affected individuals have now approached cybercrime authorities and the RBI alleging fraud

Unaccounted outstanding loans from Dhani Loans and Services Ltd have begun mysteriously appearing on the credit history of many people who claim that they have never borrowed from the online lender, which was earlier known as Indiabulls Consumer Finance Ltd.

These loans have seemingly been taken in the past six months using stolen customer details where only the permanent account number ( PAN) was found to be genuine, the complaints lodged by borrowers alleged, indicating large-scale identity theft. Some affected individuals have now approached cybercrime authorities and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) alleging fraud.

Several individuals that Mint spoke to said they had no idea how the loans got linked to their PANs. One person said his problem was resolved a day ago, but others are yet to see resolution.

“I noticed that my credit score has kept dropping since November 2021. A closer look at the loan details revealed there were two loans from IVL Finance wrongly attributed to me," said Surya Tripathi, a 30-year-old pharma company employee from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. Two separate Dhani loans are part of Tripathi’s credit history now, affecting his credit score and his ability to borrow anymore.

Credit scoring is the process of assessing the creditworthiness of a potential borrower. Experts recommend that consumers check their credit scores regularly, at least once a quarter. Indiabulls Consumer Finance Ltd was earlier called IVL Finance Ltd. Dhani is an entirely online personal loan offering, providing customers money directly into their bank accounts, according to its website.

Dileep Kumar, a 32-year-old software engineer from Delhi, discovered in November last year that a Dhani loan was wrongly attributed to him though he had never applied for one.

Kumar said he immediately wrote to the support team of Dhani, informing them of the anomaly and then escalated it to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ombudsman a month later. Immediately after the RBI complaint, he received mail from the grievance redressal team of the lender. “With reference to your RBI complaint, we would like to inform you that as per the preliminary investigation, it has been observed that your KYC documents have been tampered and been misused for availing a loan facility from our company," said the email Dhani’s grievance team sent on 13 January.

Mint has seen a copy of the mail. The company also said it is “not a party to the alleged act" and has “duly followed the prescribed operating guidelines, regulations while conducting its business". Dhani said it has initiated steps to remove the loan reference from Kumar’s credit information company records. “So far, it has been removed from one credit information company’s report, while others are yet to," said Kumar.

The company has gone slow in signing up new customers in the last month as it wanted to tighten its processes, a person aware of the development said. The lender has also decided to write off such loans after verifying claims. The problem is not limited to Dhani and has affected other fintech lenders as well, said the person cited above. “A few cases have come to our notice where unscrupulous people have used other people’s PAN and thus credentials from credit bureaus to take a loan through the fintech operation on the app," a spokesperson for Dhani Loans and Services said in an emailed response.

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