Somebody took out a payday loan in my name with Lending Stream.
They combined my name, address and date of birth with their own bank account, mobile number and email address to get hold of £440 and then defaulted on repayment.
The amount due for repayment has now doubled. The first I knew was via a letter informing me of the debt.
It took five days to get through to Lending Stream’s fraud department.
I was promised callbacks that never came, got hung up on and lost in their telephone system.
I have now filled in an ID theft affidavit form and they have told me my credit report should return to normal within 45 days.
I still just can’t get over how easy it was for somebody to commit fraud with such basic personal information. They advertise that loans can be set up in just 10 minutes and the initial paperwork is emailed, not posted out. The only precaution appears to be the credit check which was run against my name and address.
VT, Wrabtree, Essex
You were lucky in one respect: you did eventually get to speak to somebody at Lending Stream.
When I called for a comment on your case I was told that names and numbers could not be given out and I could not be put through. Two emails to the customer services address I was allowed have gone unanswered.
So we can’t know how the company which describes itself as a “responsible lender” might justify doling out a three-figure sum to an imposter.
Its website advertises a representative 1,325% APR for a short-term loan and promises “instant” decisions on applications so that it can start earning.
Complaints against payday lenders tripled in the year to June 2017, according to the Financial Ombudsman service.
Forty-five days is a long time to suffer a sullied credit rating, but you can take steps yourself to remedy this by contacting the three main credit reference agencies and raising a dispute over the default notice.
Experian says it has helped more than 12,500 people untangle the mess fraud typically creates on victims’ credit reports in the past 12 months.
If you need help email Anna Tims at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number.