From January to March 2017, every day from January to March 2017, almost 1 million zlotys were tried to be cheated, mainly by means of stolen ID cards - according to the Polish Bank Association data. Thanks to the database of restricted documents, it is easier for financial institutions to thwart such attempts, but there are also other ways, such as the Credit Information Bureau. The problem of extortion is also faced by loan companies, although its scale is not significant.

- The problem of fraudulent use of stolen documents is relatively small," says news agency Newseria Biznes Ovais Siddiqui, President of the Board of Aasa Polska. - On a nationwide scale, the issue looks more serious, especially in terms of numbers, because every day there are about a million zlotys being cheated out. However, this is a small percentage of the loans granted. There are cases of attempted identity theft, but this is no more than 3-4 percent. We use many different tools to verify the client when granting loans.

According to ZBP's data, in Q1 2017 there were attempts to carry out extortion activities for about PLN 1 million a day. This gave a total of over 90 million PLN, and there were almost 1750 attempts alone. Since 2008, when thorough research in this area began, 69.5 thousand attempts to extort loans for a total of 3.7 billion PLN have already been thwarted.

Cases of scamming on the Internet are slightly easier than in the real world, because there is no direct contact. On the web, criminals try to use stolen identities, with the name and matching PESEL number, to get a loan. So it is worth keeping a close eye on their personal data and, for example, if they lose their identity card, report it immediately.

Height of scamming in Poland

- We use various databases, such as BIK, that allow us to check if someone is using a stolen identity. Individuals can also use this database to find out if someone is analyzing their credit history," says Siddiqui. - So if you don't apply for a loan and the BIK informs you that someone is checking your data online, you should be alert. There are a number of things that we can do and that individuals can do to protect themselves from identity theft.

In August last year, Poland was shocked by information about an alleged leakage of 1.4 million Poles from the PESEL database - an unnaturally increased number of inquiries from law firms. This resulted in consumers' interest in protecting their personal data. BIK even offered a one-year free monitoring with alerts sent out to the public as to whether inquiries about credit were recorded in the name of a given person.

- There are several methodologies that we use. BIK, which I have already mentioned, but there are also other credit information bureaus that help to match the name to the PESEL number, credit history and addresses. Another very important system we use is called Blue Media," says the head of Aasa Polska, a company that has been operating for five years and has already granted loans to 200 thousand people. - It allows us to match the PESEL of a given person to his/her bank account. The system consists in the fact that the zloty is sent from the account of the person who applies for financing and then returned. Thanks to this transfer we see data from the bank: name, account details, address and PESEL number.

Other companies that verify data outside the BIK include Deltavista, BIG or ERIF. Aasa also tries to use big data analysis as an advanced method of assessing fraud risk. It consists in checking how a person's credit history looked like so far.

- We check the connections with addresses, relationships with other people, PESEL numbers, even a bank account. If a fraud of the past comes to light, the risk of such a request increases, Ovais Siddiqui explains. - We process up to 4,000 requests per day, but we are able to eliminate those that can be troublesome, so the risk of fraud is actually very low with us.

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