Citibank Singapore customers get identity protection service

ID Protect service helps bank customers prevent identity theft, and also provides assistance to restore customer's stolen credit record.

SINGAPORE--Citibank Singapore, life assistance provider Card Protection Plan (CPP) and credit reference agency Credit Bureau (Singapore), have partnered to offer the bank's customers an identity protection service.

Called ID Protect, the new service will be available to Citibank cardholders in Singapore from Aug. 21 at S$75 (US$53) a year, comprising both prevention and resolution services.

The service's prevention component will provide credit reports and early notifications to alert customers of attempts to steal their identity, thereby, reducing the risk of unauthorized transactions. The service coverage includes credit card transactions made via the phone and Internet.

Credit Bureau provides records of customers' credit history and loan details, mortgages and credit cards opened in their name. Through the new service, customers can monitor their credit card activity and identify signs of identity theft via the Credit Bureau reports.

If a customer's identification document is stolen, the bureau will also place a warning on the customer's credit file to alert credit providers to take extra precautions before granting credit in the customer's name. The aim is to reduce the risk of theft should fraudsters obtain credit cards or other products and services in the customer's name.

According to company executives, CCP will manage the service while Credit Bureau will provide the credit reports, flagging and alert services.

Radha Survana, director of portfolio management and credit payment products at Citibank Singapore, noted that while the absolute number of identity theft is currently low, the occurrences of such incidents is growing "quite substantially".

"In Singapore, it is not high but we can't be complacent," Radha said, during a press conference Wednesday. "Credit card, phone and Internet transactions make [users] more susceptible [to fraud]."

"Identity protection is not only a financial loss for customers, there is a lot of emotional stress, a loss of reputation of the client's credit history…life's in a mess--the bad credit [situation] must be cleared," he said.

Credit resolution
The resolution component in ID Protect provides customers access to an expert in identity protection, whose priorities include helping customers who have fallen prey to fraud to restore their credit record.

The expert will assist customers with the necessary paperwork and provide support until the matter is resolved. An action plan will also be developed to ensure the customer's identity, credit status and credit reports are restored as soon as possible.

According to the Unisys Security Index 2008, issues related to identity theft and card fraud are the top two areas of concern for Singaporeans. The report determined that 83 percent were extremely concerned about unauthorized access to or misuse of personal information, and 80 percent were equally concerned about fraudsters obtaining their credit and debit card details.

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