OpenWonga

News and views

BBC Breakfast and Watchdog

Date article publshed: 01/05/2013 Read original article >

Recent research by Financial Fraud Action revealed UK online banking fraud rose by 12% in 2012, to £39.6m, and card fraud jumped by 14% to £388m. People are increasingly being tricked into parting with their cards, PINs and passwords and identity theft poses a continued threat to consumers and all online businesses.

Fraud affects us too, just as it does all finance providers, and we are continually making concerted efforts to combat this sophisticated criminal activity. There have been a number of articles about fraudsters illegally obtaining Wonga loans, often based on case studies, but a few misconceptions have also arisen about our attitude to fraud and how we deal with it.

Misconception 1: We’re complacent about fraud and the banks pick up the bill

We have a zero tolerance policy on any fraudulent criminal activity and we are working proactively with industry-leading service providers, as well as law enforcement, to reduce the risk to an absolute minimum. Not only does it cause unnecessary stress and worry for those it affects, but we also have nothing to gain from loans being taken out fraudulently and Wonga always suffers financial, and reputational, loss as a result.

Our first priority in any fraudulent case is to make sure the person affected is reimbursed in full and their credit rating is not affected in any way.

Depending on individual circumstances, money is reimbursed either directly by us or via the person’s bank, who then charges this back to Wonga. All fraudulent loans are removed from the individual’s credit file and we have a dedicated fraud team to help manage these instances.

Misconception 2: We ignore the problem, as it somehow benefits us not to report fraud

We report identity theft cases to CIFAS, a fraud prevention membership association representing the private and public sectors. Wonga, and over 250 other members, provide information on identified fraud to help prevent further instances occurring, and this information is pooled and shared with the police and Action Fraud.

This collective approach enables the police to plan and act effectively against what is often organised crime, especially given the relatively small fraudulent loan amounts when considered on a case-by-case basis.

When the police do act in response to individual cases and request information from us, we co-operate fully and provide all the data we can (and provide witness statements in court where appropriate) to help identify the fraudsters.

Misconception 3: We lend to anyone and don’t screen applicants properly

We spent a year developing our anti-fraud and decision technology before we provided a single loan, and have since built a highly-selective, proven decision system that declines two-thirds of all first loan applications, some of which will be fraudulent.

Wonga developed the world’s first fully-automated lending platform and we assess up to 8,000 data points to make every loan decision. We buy public data from a large number of sources, including the major credit agencies, and validate all applicants using industry-standard practices.

We have processed millions of applications over several years and have used this experience to also develop and evolve our own internal authentication techniques too.

Unfortunately we’re not perfect and fraud still happens, especially with criminals focusing their efforts on obtaining and using other people’s personal details.

So we continually monitor the methods fraudsters use to avoid detection and improve our prevention processes to screen out the vast majority of these cases.

We also strive to ensure we have resources in place, such as a dedicated security team of analysts and a specialist escalations hotline, to help people who are affected and we absolutely understand the impact of this distressing criminal activity.

If you become a victim of ID fraud and receive an unexpected letter from Wonga, you should:

• Call us on 020 7138 8330 and alert us to the fraudulent activity, quoting the Wonga reference number on the letter. Once investigated, we will write off the balance and email credit reference agencies to remove all searches
• Report it to the Police and Action Fraud
• Check your bank account for any unusual transactions
• Inform your bank that you have been a victim of fraud
• Obtain a credit report to check if other applications have been made to other companies in your name
• Speak to your bank/CRA about ID theft protection

If you become a victim of card fraud you should:

• Make sure the card used fraudulently is cancelled by your bank
• Call us on 020 7138 8330 and alert us to the fraudulent activity on the card
• To investigate the card fraud we will require the exact amounts taken, dates taken and last four digits of the card used
• Call your bank and inform them of the fraud. The bank will put the money back on the card and then reclaim it from us
• Check your credit file for any other applications possibly made
• Keep checking bank statements regularly

Response by Editor Published: Categories Wonga Fraud

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk