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Watchdog on Wonga - " Victims of ID Theft continue to rise"

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Last year Watchdog showed that Britain’s biggest Pay Day Loans company, Wonga, were taking money from the accounts of people who weren’t their customers.

 

At that time, we knew of about 40 cases but Wonga assured us that this was only a minor problem and that they were doing everything they could to tackle it. But the complaints kept coming – since then we’ve heard from over 350 people who claim their accounts have been raided for loans they didn’t take out.

 

 

 

The people affected all seem to have been victims of identity fraud, with their bank accounts being used to repay loans which the criminals have taken out.

 

One such victim was 67 year old Malcolm Langley from Caerphilly. He visited the cash machine on his way to buy the newspaper and was surprised to see that there were insufficient funds in his account. Malcolm contacted his bank straight away and was horrified that in fifteen transactions £3500 had been taken from his account by Wonga.

 

 

So how is this allowed to happen?

 

Wonga proudly advertise that they can process a loan in minutes and this is part of the problem, says lending expert Richard Palette. In his view, this doesn’t give the payday lender enough time to physically check each loan application, a flaw in the system which leaves it open to abuse from fraudsters.

 

Even children are vulnerable.

 

Despite the fact you need to be 18 years old to apply for a loan, criminals used the account of 15 year old Simon Oliver to apply for a Wonga loan. The company took over £250 out of his account, money which he’d saved up from birthday and Christmas presents.

 

“I can’t currently drive, nor can I buy alcohol nor can I even vote, so the fact that I would even have a loan is completely absurd.”

 

A simple check by Wonga should have revealed that the account holder wasn’t of age. But they didn’t spot this. Watchdog feels that this and other such instances of fraud raise serious concerns about the payday lender’s security checks.

 

 

 

 

Watchdog is so concerned with the volume of fraud that we decided to take our findings to the City of London police, the force who lead on economic crime.

 

They told us that they would look into the issue and asked anyone who’s been a victim of identity fraud to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

 

 

 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mg74/features/wonga-fraud-complaints-continue


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