Citizens' Issues
Public Interest Exclusive
Use your PAN card carefully

 PAN card data has become essential for certain transactions, which makes PAN card identity theft more likely than ever

Waving a PAN (Permanent Account Number) card as a form of identity, when such a document is required with a photograph, has become second nature to many of us. Keeping a laminated copy as a spare, and placing the original in safe-keeping, is the strategy adopted by many. But now, with more and more transactions requiring a copy of a PAN card, or at the very least the number, it appears that the role of this essential piece of plastic, and its consequences, are rapidly changing, in a way and manner not anticipated by the authorities.
 
Tipped off by a message in an amateur railfans group (IRFCA) and prodded by a couple of anecdotal experiences, this is what we discovered about the widespread misuse of PAN card data. If you are using it to book Tatkal tickets, then you have to provide the number. This number then reflects on the booking chart, which is displayed openly on the carriage, at the departure station and elsewhere.
 
In some cities and states, hotels demand copies of PAN cards. Similarly, if running up huge bills at restaurants, and paying in cash—you can be asked for a PAN card. Then at jewellers, second-hand car dealers, property brokers, landlords, tenants, and many more entities, they all want a copy of your PAN card. Travel agents and visa facilitation centres are also not averse to asking for this detail.
 
All this is fine in normal situations. But if you have ever seen determined looking young men taking down details of name, age, gender and origin/destination, along with the PAN card number, from railway reservation charts, know that they are paid anything between Rs5 and Rs10 per detail collected. And if you have ever received strange phone calls or telegrams/emails from weird people after applying for a visa, then it worries you even more. Very often they appear to have copies of all the documents you placed with the visa centres.
 
This PAN card number then becomes a tool for benami transactions in a variety of hands. And it appears that this problem is growing very rapidly. Including, it seems, with credit cards issued, new cars purchased, or similar.
 
What happens, then, if you are a victim of PAN card identity theft, and data emerges which shows you as having transacted a vast amount of money somewhere? Which may also match with your actual travel?
 
# From the trader’s point of view, a penalty of Rs10,000 per wrong PAN card information provided can be levied and so it becomes incumbent on the trader to try to ensure that correct data is collected and provided, preferably with an additional identity proof.
 
#  From the tax-paying PAN card holder’s point of view, if despite checking the Form 26AS online some benami transactions take place, and you do not spot it till it is too late, then the Income Tax department will ask the PAN card holder to prove that he did not carry out the transaction. The Income Tax department can also ask the PAN card holder to explain the source of the funds used. Resolution can take years.
 
# From the non-tax-paying PAN card holder’s point of view, there may not even be the option of checking Form 26AS online, and the first he will come to know is when he receives a notice from the Income Tax department. Again, the common man suffers—and God help you if somebody takes a dislike towards you.
 
Obviously, the quoting of a PAN card for cash transactions is not a fool-proof method and needs to be fine-tuned some more. That is for the finance ministry to consider and implement and one method would be to insist that additional steps like signed photocopy of PAN card, signed photocopy of additional identity document and possibly video/photo record of the transaction be retained by traders/customers taking part in high-value cash transactions.

On your part, try not to use the PAN card as an identity document or for other casual transactions, and have control over photocopies given out.

(Veeresh Malik had a long career in the Merchant Navy, which he left in 1983. He has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, loves to travel, and has been in print and electronic media for over two decades. After starting and selling a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing.)

User

COMMENTS

christina

1 year ago

Hello
Intel has asked for pancard details for Intel to ship a loaner camera fro 6 months.It is a part of the contest Is it safe to provide PAN CARD details to them???

christina

1 year ago

Hello
Intel has asked for pancard details for Intel to ship a loaner camera fro 6 months.It is a part of the contest Is it safe to provide PAN CARD details to them???

setty

3 years ago

Hi,

This is very informational.

If one sees a unknown or benami transaction in their 26AS credit.

What steps are to be taken by the PAN Holder to rectify this. Whom should the PAN holder approach or is there any contact or customer care kind. who can provide the details of the transactions to verify the authenticity and if found benami what can the pan holder can do to fix this?

Thanks,
Satish

Apollo Jones

4 years ago

I have discovered that my sister's PAN card who is married in some other city has been misused and was used to open a bank account and a mutual fund scheme where Rs 1000 monthly was credited to the scheme. Also there was an FD done. These all were same as my sister's name and her PAN details without her knowledge .My sister in the process closed that bank account withdrew the FD and closed mutual fund scheme. Now the other party who was misusing our PAN card is threatning to lodge an FIR against us alleging that we defraud them by unlawfully closing all their accounts without their notice. I would like to know that can we take some action against the other party?? Also how can we take such an action and what will be the charges and penalties that can be charged on the other party....PLEASE HELP !!!!!

Apollo Jones

4 years ago

SIr I have discovered that my sister's PAN card who is married in some other city has been misused and was used to open a bank account and a mutual fund scheme where Rs 1000 monthly was credited to the scheme. Also there was an FD done. These all were same as my sister's name and her PAN details without her knowledge .My sister in the process closed that bank account withdrew the FD and closed mutual fund scheme. Now the other party who was misusing our PAN card is threatning to lodge an FIR against us alleging that we defraud them by unlawfully closing all their accounts without their notice. I would like to know that can we take some action against the other party and if we do, what are the penalties for them ??

Vijay Kumar Sharma

4 years ago

i was applied for city bank cr card and given to identy proof (Pan Card,ID proof with self attachested) to Agent and in other case same is given to UTI Agent but they people did not make the process and not called to me.
How can i check that my ID & PAN card is not missuse?Please Help me I am worried to read this type of news

padmakumar s

4 years ago

Hi,
I am the REAL victim on this case. I was applied ICICI bank credit on 2008.I also given my PAN card for this purpose.but some ICICI staff/agant used my identy,tranacated 45 cores on 08-09 financal year.last eight months back I got notice from IT for above transacation.then I had proved all my income and insvements etc.,
Now I am FREED from this case.but I went almost six moths every alternate week for clarification.
My kind advice to all of you is don't use PAN and PASSPORT as idendity in your daily life.use only mandetry place.
Thanks

REPLY

Padmakumar

In Reply to Sundaram 4 years ago

Hi,
Fourtanatly I have that four ICICI guys contact no.There numbers are live and they all are no more with ICICI bank.one number not exit.
I had approched chennai economic offence wing. But they can't help this case.because it happened in mumbai.so they direct me to go and register complient in economic wing in mumbai.
I will do something with in short period.
Let see.how it will go?

Sundaram

In Reply to padmakumar s 4 years ago

Dear Padmakumar,

I can fully visualise the mental strain and agony that you must have undergone.But was the culprit apprehended?What action did ICICI Bank take against him?

Though you have rightly pointed out that PAN Card and Passport must be furnished only where they are mandatory,in your case you had to provide the PAN Card without which a Credit Card would not have been issued.So where was the remedy and what other option did you have?

Sundaram

4 years ago

Dear Mr.Malik,
I'm a little confused.Could you please elaborate on how a tax-payer can check his Form 26-AS and determine whether his card has been misused for any benami transactions? I was under the impression that Form 26-AS provides details of TDS,TCS etc.Where do such transactions reflect on the Form?Thanks for your clarification.

REPLY

malq

In Reply to Sundaram 4 years ago

Dear Sundaram ji, thank you for writing in.

The reference to 26AS is in context with high value transactions, which you may not have done but somebody else has done using your PAN, and displayed on 26AS as explained here:-

http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/26ASTax...

""Details of the High value Transactions in respect of shares, mutual fund etc.""

I hope that helps.

Regards/VM

Rambabu Shastri

4 years ago

There is a very simple way to curb this misuse. Agencies like hotels etc should only ask for the number and then go to the online site to verify the PAN card identity. They do not need to ask for the copy / photocopy. Hope IT department will help get this done. When you go to http://www.cvlindia.com/inquiry_kyc01.as... you can verify the name after entering PAN card number.

REPLY

malq

In Reply to Rambabu Shastri 4 years ago

Dear Rambabu Shastri ji, thank you for writing in, and hope some method works better than current.

Regards/VM

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