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Identity theft: a growing crime

Identity theft can be detrimental when someone access essential elements of a person's identifying information in order to commit fraud or theft. 

It is therefore important to recognise, prevent and resolve identity theft to protect yourself.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft happens when someone steals your identity and impersonates you in order to open credit accounts, rent apartments, even engage in criminal acts. You don't know when it happens. Then one day you are turned down unexpectedly for a loan, you get a call from a collection agency about an account you never opened, or worse yet, a call from the police about a crime you didn't commit. Suddenly you are a victim of identity theft.

How does identity theft happen?

Criminals steal personal information, such as Identity Card numbers, driver's license numbers, credit card numbers, ATM cards, and other key pieces of individuals' identities. They use this stolen information to impersonate their victims, spending as much money as they can in as short a time as possible before moving on to their next victim.

Identity thieves use a variety of ways to gain access to this personal information including:

  • Stealing your mail
  • Looking through your garbage
  • Stealing your wallet or purse
  • Posing as your employer, bank or utility company needing to "update their records"
  • Grabbing information off internet sites that are not secure
  • Completing a "change of address'' form

Once the thief has access to this information, they may open a new credit card account in your name providing a "new" billing address. Given that the credit card bills will not go to your address, chances are, you will not be aware of the new account. When the thief does not pay the bills, the credit card company will report this to your credit file. The thief may also open up bank accounts in your name and write bad cheques, apply for services in your name or request a "replacement" card to be sent to a new address.

Ways to protect youself against identity theft

Prevention is the first step in battling identity theft. To minimize the risk of someone stealing your identity and the pain of cleaning up the aftermath.

Useful guidelines

Listed below are some useful guidelines you can adopt:

  • Carry only the cards (credit and ID) that you need to have with you; file others in a safe place at home
  • Sign your credit cards immediately
  • Do not attach a pin number to any cards you carry with you
  • Do not attach or write a pin number on anything you are going to discard (e.g. a receipt)
  • Shred any document that contains your credit card number before you discard it
  • Check receipts to ensure you received your own and not someone else's
  • Alert your card issuer if you do not receive your statements. Someone could have taken them from your mailbox and could be using your credit card number.
  • Do not give personal information or account numbers to anyone until you have confirmed the identity of the person requesting the information and verified that you need to provide them with the information

What to do if your identity is stolen

Taking quick action can help overcome some of the difficulties cause by identity theft. We suggest you make a report to local authorities immediately to report any identity theft. In addition, if you are a HSBC credit cardholder, call 1-300-88-1727 / 603-8321-5400 to report any lost/stolen HSBC credit cards immediately.

Fraud prevention

Your credit card is as good as cash. Be careful about how and when you use your credit cards. You need to protect it.

Here are some tips to maximize credit card security and minimize your risk.

When you receive your card

  • In the event the sealed package containing your new/renewed/replacement credit card is compromised, please contact our Customer Service immediately at 1300-88-1388 / 603-8321 5400
  • Upon receiving your new/renewed/replacement credit card, please sign your card immediately
  • Do not let anyone else use your credit card. 
  • Should you not require your new/renewed/replacement credit card, please ensure you mutilate the magnetic stripe and chip by cutting the card and chip into halves before returning it back to the Bank

When you receive your Personal Identification Number (PIN)

  • In the event the sealed envelopecontaining your PIN is compromised, please contact our Customer Service immediately at 1300-88-1388 / 603-8321 5400
  • Memorise your Personal Identification Number (PIN) immediately and destroy the PIN advice
  • It is advisable to go to the nearest HSBC Branch to change your PIN and do not use sequential numbers and obvious numbers, such as your telephone number, ID number, date of birth, driving licence, passport or other easily accessible personal information as your PIN
  • Change your PIN regularly for precaution
  • You must not write your PIN on the credit card
  • Do not keep your credit card together or in close proximity with any paper/document stating your PIN
  • Ensure that no one is observing you when you are keying in your PIN while you are accessing our Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS), logging on to the HSBC online banking services, using the ATM or any other electronic payment terminals
  • You must not disclose the PIN to any person, including any employee of the Bank

During transactions

  • Check to ensure that 2 sales slips are printed for each transaction. The ‘PIN Verification Success’ sales slip will be kept by the merchant and a copy is given to the cardholder.
  • Upon receiving sales slips, you must ensure that your name, credit card number and amount transacted are in order/ accurate
  • Ensure your credit card and not someone else’s, is returned to you after a purchase using your credit card
  • Keep the customer copy of your sales slips for future reference
  • Do not disclose your credit card information to unknown persons or third party over the phone
  • On calls received or made on credit card matters, please ensure that you record the particulars of the caller, date and time of call. You may receive a phone call from HSBC after making a credit card purchase and this is done to ensure that the transaction is made/authorised by you.

Online shopping

  • Access to secured merchant browser via HSBC’s Secure Pay for extra security and peace of mind when you shop online
  • Check the merchant reference
  • Manage your password carefully
  • Do not send credit card details via e-mail
  • Keep transaction records including Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

At the ATM

  • Make sure no one observes you keying in the PIN
  • Remember to take your credit card from the ATM machine after use
  • Make sure that there are no foreign devices attached to the ATM machine before using the machine

When you receive your statements

  • Check copies of your sales slips against your monthly credit card statements
  • If you have any problems or queries, call our Customer Service at 1300-88-1388 / 603-8321-5400 immediately
  • Any disputed transaction must be reported to the Bank within 60 days from your monthly credit card statement date

If you lose your credit card

  • Thieves take advantage of busy public places. Jackets on chairs and handbags on the floor in restaurants are special targets. Crowded places such as cinemas, shopping malls and LRT stations are also high risk. Even in the privacy of your home or office, a card unattended is at risk of being stolen.
  • Report the loss immediately to avoid any unauthorised usage of your credit card, the PIN may have been compromised, upon receiving short message service (SMS) transaction alert if the transaction was unauhorised or when there’s any change to your contact number
  • Check your credit card(s) statement and report any discrepancy without undue delay

If your credit card is lost or stolen or there are unauthorised transactions requiring PIN or signature or use of contactless card charged to credit card, you must:

  • Inform the Bank immediately
  • Lodge a police report
  • Thereafter notify the Bank in writing with a copy of police report

You are not required to pay the disputed card transactions pending completion of the Bank’s investigation. You shall not be liable for the disputed card transaction unless if it is found that you have acted fraudulently or have delayed in notifying the Bank as soon as reasonably practicable after having discovered the loss/theft of the credit card(s) or of the unauthorised transaction(s) on the credit card(s) or voluntarily disclosed the PIN or allowed another person to use the credit card or recorded the PIN and kept it in close proximity with the credit card which could be lost or stolen together with the credit card or left the credit card unattended, in places visible and accessible to others.

Important points to note

  • If your credit card/PIN has been lost /stolen/ compromised or if your PIN has been disclosed to a third party, please report immediately by calling our 24 hours hotline at 1300-88-9393 / 603-8321-5222
  • You are advised to logon direct to HSBC website at www.hsbc.com.my and not through any other URL link addresses. Please do not divulge your personal information and credit card details through any other URL link addresses. HSBC website is secured with "PADLOCK" at the top right hand corner.
  • We maintain strict security standards and procedures to prevent unauthorised access to information about you. HSBC will never contact you by e-mail or otherwise to ask you to validate personal information such as your user ID, password or account numbers. If you receive such a request, please contact our 24 hours hotline at 1300-88-9393 / 603-8321-5222
  • You are required to update the Bank promptly with your latest home or business address or telephone number