estate or for any transaction mentioned above.
The increasing importance of PAN has increased the likeliness of PAN card identity theft. The safeguarding of the physical copy of the PAN card no longer assures that your card is not being misused. As a majority of transactions demand a photocopy of your PAN card, or simply quoting the Permanent Account Number, it is very easy for your information to be misused for high-ticket purchases or benami property transactions. A copy of your PAN card or simply its number can be quoted in transactions, which you are not even a part of.
Example of how your information can be misused: Recently, a consumer activist group revealed that the PAN card copy used in Railway ticket tatkal bookings were misused by several jewellers. When an individual produces his PAN to book the Tatkal tickets, this information is fed in the Indian Railways system and also displayed on the ticket, reservation chart and train coaches. Unscrupulous jewellers steal this information from such public displays and use it to furnish tax collected details while they sell jewellery of very high value to high-net worth individuals who do not wish to produce their PAN.
If this happens to you?
When your PAN card is illegally used, you may not even be aware of this for atleast six months after the wrong transaction. You can check for such benami transactions by going through your Form 26AS, which is a consolidated statement of tax deducted, along with other details. If you are a non-tax paying PAN card holder, you may not even be able to check this form. The Income Tax department will require the PAN card holder to prove that the transaction was not carried out by him, and also give details on his source of funds. This becomes very difficult and time-consuming. As a PAN card holder, you should take care while disclosing your PAN details to anyone. You must hand over only signed photocopies and try to reduce using PAN in all casual transactions as ID proof.
Phonetic PAN (PPAN)
The phonetic PAN (PPAN) is a new concept introduced to prevent a single PAN being allotted to more than one assessee with same or similar names. When PAN is allotted, the PPAN of the assessee is compared with the PPANs of all the assessees to whom PAN has been allotted in the country. A warning