Beware of PAN Frauds
The increasing importance of PAN has increased the likeliness of PAN Card identity theft. The safeguarding of the physical copy of the PAN card no longer assures that your card is not being misused. As a majority of transactions demand a photocopy of your PAN card, or simply quoting the Permanent Account Number, it is very easy for your information to be misused for high ticket purchases or benami property transactions. A copy of your PAN card or simply its number can be quoted in transactions, which you are not even a part of.
How your PAN can be misused by someone else
We know very well that PAN nowadays became a basic proof to carry on various financial transactions. This lead to so many fraud activities some people are performing via PAN. Here are some ways in which your PAN can be misused.
Different ways how PAN Card can be Misused
1. Tatkal Bookings at Railway Stations
You will be asked to provide your PAN card number while booking a tatkal ticket online or through a travelling agent. Most people give PAN card number without bothering on the consequences. What if someone notes down the details from the charts displayed on trains and platforms?
Check if someone is writing down PAN card numbers from railway charts and bring it to the attention of the concerned authorities. These details could be sold to people who use it for carrying out illegal activities in PAN cardholder’s name.
2. Jewelry Purchase above the Specified Limit
In order to curb black money in the economy, jewelers are asked to collect tax at source from people who purchase jewelry. The customers are asked to furnish their PAN details. But unfortunately, most customers don’t give their PAN details. Many jewelers ask them to provide a Benami PAN number which is collected from various sources. Most PAN card details are stolen.
3. Applying for Credit Card
A PAN copy was being handed over by one of the individual to bank representative for applying new Credit card. This PAN was being misused at some other place and was sent to other states. As per the address mentioned in PAN records, a notice for non-payment of loan installment was being received by an individual from Bank which was fraudulently done by representative.
4. Purchasing a Second-Hand Car
When you are purchasing a second-hand car from a dealer with cash, you must provide your PAN card details. If the person with whom you are dealing with is an illegal car dealer, he might misuse your PAN card.
5. Fake Businesses in your Name
Fraudsters can use your PAN card details to set up a business under your name. You won’t be aware of this, until you receive a notice from the Income Tax department, asking you on the financial transactions made through your PAN account.
6. Social Media
Many people share their full name, DOB and other personal information on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Using these details, fraudsters can procure your PAN details. These PAN details can be used to carry out fraudulent transactions.
7. Fake Credit Score Portals
There are many online portals which help check your credit score. But the fact is, not all these portals are genuine. There are many fake credit score portals which are set up with the intention of stealing your personal information like PAN card details. Your PAN details collected by these portals are used to carry out transactions, for which you are held accountable.
8. Travel Agents
If someone applies for a visa, he/she is asked to provide certain documents including PAN details. Fraudsters target such applicants and call them asking for the travel date. When they are not in the country, they use their PAN details for large ticket transactions or any illegal financial activity.
Steps you have to take to Avoid the Misuse of PAN
First advice to you is don’t give PAN as an identity proof if there is a possibility of giving some other ID as proof. Otherwise depend upon voter ID, or driving license. Mention PAN only when it is necessary. Even just sharing your PAN number with someone whom you can’t trust is also not good. So avoid sharing PAN number also.
Some suspicious persons may try to trace your PAN if they know some basic details about you. Like your surname, date of birth and in some cases your father’s name. For instance official income tax website provides a service to know your PAN for your benefit. But actually this service may also be misused by someone else. Have some clarity regarding Form 26AS and do visit it at least twice in a year to make sure that everything is fine with your PAN card.