Lourdes Edith is a teacher who was supplanted in different financial entities. On March 22, through electronic applications, bank accounts were created in their name and financial products were requested.
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The woman who handles only one Davivienda card appeared with 15 financial products in seven banks. The victim found out about the impersonation when she received a payroll deduction notice for $1.5 million for one of the loans allegedly approved for $43 million.
Financial institutions have gone from the office to the cell phone. Anyone can create a user and from the mobile request from virtual credit cards to purchase insurance. They also allow the payment or programming of bills, recharges, collect and pay transfers, send money to other banks, pay credits, among other functions.
It is an online banking system. Without the need to go to a branch, through mobile applications that promise to reduce operating costs, simple transfers, greater control of information, comfort and, above all, security.
However, the Agency for Investigative Journalism, API, learned of the case of Lourdes Edith, a 47-year-old teacher who began to pay what she never asked for online. According to the information provided by a family member to this Agency, on March 22, a loan for 43 million pesos was requested in Compensar.
The reason: free investment credit. The money was awarded after people provided a cell phone number of the victim from 10 years ago, a landline phone from a house where he lived seven years ago and an address where he lived with his family a year ago.
For the loan request, no fingerprint or photo of the identity document was required. The name of today’s victim was enough. In addition, it was not notified as soon as the credit was accepted, Edith found out about the impersonation of her data almost a month later when she already received her first payroll deduction.
Everything would have started in early January when the woman tried to access her email. The web page requested a validation, after doing it and closing her session again, He was unable to use his personal email again, a virtual space that people take advantage of to store important information and therefore identity documents.
After learning about the first discount for the credit of more than $40 million, on the Datacrédito page, Edith got an even bigger surprise: they had opened 15 financial products in their name and in seven banking entities.
The woman did not have the credit capacity to be disbursed around $200 million, she is beginning to pay a credit that was granted to pay for an apartment in which she currently lives. So how was it possible for her to generate credits from different banks? And it is that in just two days 15 products were accepted and a single purchase totaled $20 million.
The entities where Edith was supplanted were Banco Finandina, BBVA, Banco de Bogotá, Banco Pichincha, Colpatria, Bancolombia, Compensar and even Nequi. What apparently is a hack of her email where she kept data that was used, becomes a millionaire theft after the impersonation of her data.
Edith went to the Prosecutor’s Office, filed the respective complaint for identity theft. The investigative entity, through prosecutor 25, Carmenza Gómez, requested Compensar to reestablish rights and withdraw the victim from Risk Centers and/or the respective system.
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Regarding the $43 million loan, the accounts were blocked at Compensar, but the money had already been disbursed on two credit cards sent to an address in the country’s capital. The case in the Prosecutor’s Office was to report the possibility of filing a complaint for fraud within six months of what happened.
On April 4, the investigative entity ordered the file of the case for the crimes of personal falsehood. The argument of the prosecutor’s office was: “it can determine without much intellectual effort that the conduct cannot be object of valuation different from that contained in Article 79 of Law 906 of 2004”.
In the midst of the investigations, the family did not have access to the information on the addresses to which the cards were sent, while the judicial proceedings did not progress, time is running out and the victim is about to receive the second discount, only from the first loan.
In this regard, a criminal lawyer consulted on this case pointed out that: “the decision to file the Prosecutor’s Office is outside the norm. When there is a fraud where a financial user is affected, there are at least two victims: The owner of the savings or current account that was affected, is initially called to bear the economic loss and the financial entity that has been affected in its good name reputation to the use of virtual channels for the handling of financial products”.
Regarding the other banking entities, they made the decision to alert so that the other accounts were cancelled. Edith only handles a bank card Davivienda and overnight it turned out with seven accounts and 15 products. Nobody answers.
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What was the identity verification? Where is the security? How is the identity and information of the clients protected? These are some of the questions from Edith’s family about this case.
Meanwhile, in the midst of the desperate search for answers, ScotiaBank responded that “if a banking product was disbursed without consent… it is essential to initiate an investigation process for impersonation. Please tell him to refer to one of our offices where he will receive personalized attention”.
For its part, the BBVA bank received the request made by the victim on May 3 and reported on the start of the study and a response within the following 15 business days. A possible solution has not been presented either. Meanwhile, the situation was also presented to the Financial Superintendence, from where progress on the case is also expected.
And it seems to be very easy to apply for a credit or financial product virtually. Making a virtual tour of different banks, this Agency found that credits are offered at a click of up to $2,000,000 that can be requested without leaving home and without documents.
Another financial entity publishes on its website that it has “a digital line of credit with which you can finance the project you want. Being digital, you do not require documents and the disbursement of the money is instant”. 100% virtual credits are offered with the delivery of money in hours.
Among the offers are loans from $3 to $100 million, a fixed interest rate, a digital credit that does not require physical documents, only a digital signature from the cell phone, that for the sake of making life easier it is complicated as in the case of Edith and millions of supplanted Colombians.
And it is that Edith is not an isolated victim, between January and April 2021, digital scams that occurred in the financial system and originated from Colombia increased 243% and worldwide grew 149%, according to a TransUnion study.
In addition, a study by BPC Banking Technologies, experts in digital solutions, estimated the largest losses in the world of US$32 billion at the end of 2021. Most of the cases correspond to identity theft by making online purchases, using mobile applications and counterfeiting plastics. .
In Colombia, Bogotá was the city where the most cases of impersonation were registered in 2020, when this modality increased in the midst of the pandemic. In the capital, 12,981 cases were reported, followed by Medellín (3,442); Cali (2,363); Barranquilla (1,809); Bucaramanga (1,256) and Cartagena (887). Being impersonation by email one of the most used modalities.
By mid-2021, crimes committed with credit cards increased by 70%; 243% increased fraud in Colombia and 61% increased robbery attempts in the country.
In the same way, given the increase in cases of impersonation, both authorities and security experts recommend that if a user loses their documents or is a victim of theft, they should immediately file a formal complaint.
In addition, it is preventive to permanently review the account statement in risk centers to validate possible negative reports or unsolicited credits. Nor should personal or business information be provided in telephone surveys.
In addition to these recommendations, you must be certain that no entity where you have your products will request a password, credit card number, security code or expiration date. It is also crucial to specify that the user does not have the obligation to pay debts generated by an impersonator.
While the banking entities try to give answers to the case of Lourdes Edith, in the country there is Law 527 of 1999 by means of which the access and use of data messages, electronic commerce and signatures are defined and regulated. digital, and certification entities are established and other provisions are issued.