It may not seem like a very large sum but Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) claims to have recovered Rs 74.60 crore via skip tracing. This amount was recovered from retail borrowers between January and May. According to senior officials who spoke with FE, the bank has been able to recover Rs 74.60 crore from 13,197 accounts. These accounts include various loans like education, housing, clean, liquirent, pushpaka and others. For the quarter ended September 30, 2016, out of the 78,776 accounts the bank had shared with a credit information company, it claims 20,545 accounts have been traced. Of this, recoveries were made from 13,197 accounts.
The maximum amount was recovered from the education loan category — Rs 43.20 crore from 8,556 accounts. The second largest recovery was from the housing loan category at Rs 19.63 crore from 2014 accounts. “We have done this for retail NPA accounts so far. Now, we are thinking of using this to track MSME accounts as well,” said a senior bank executive.
Skip tracing is a method of locating a person who has disappeared without any trace. It makes use of comprehensive contact information on customers from credit bureau databases updated from financial institutions on a regular basis. The information includes names, addresses, email ids, PAN, Aadhaar and anything that a customer provides as a know your customer (KYC) detail to any financial institution while applying for a loan or during any other process.
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Credit information companies have tools that match all the records and data available with them to a particular customer to provide an updated information on a person. Bankers take their help to find out the latest information about a person whose account has become a non-performing account.
Interestingly, banks in general are also believed to employ the services of software professionals to locate people who disappear without any trace as a credit information company has to work within the limits of regulations but a software professional working independently does not have any bounds.
A cyber expert that FE spoke to revealed there are various ways by which a person can be located through their emails. “Software professionals sometimes send emails with links to a NPA customer who needs to be found. If the targetted person clicks on the links, the IP address of that person gets logged and we can know where exactly that email was opened,” said the expert.
There also are many websites that offer read notification services. These are not just notifications on whether the sent email has been read or not. With a little bit of script modification, these websites could track where exactly the email was read. Through paid services, they provide details like date, time, approximate geographic locations, IP address, the time the email was read, etc.
Even if customers open an email sent using the services of these websites, the information gets logged. “Apart from this, software professionals and IT companies get crucial details from email service providers about a customer’s login along with the information on those who have been communicating with the person via email,” said the cyber expert.