Identity theft still rife

2016-02-24 06:00

THE South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) alerts consumers to ways that criminals go about gathering personal information in order to impersonate their victims.

One of the more subtle ways is through social engineering tactics. Criminals will call their victim, pretending to be from the bank, and trick them into disclosing confidential information over the phone.

Emails purporting to be from the bank are also common and of late, some of these are believed to have malware attached to them. According to Sabric, once the malware is installed onto the victim’s computer, it steals sensitive information and sends it to the criminals.

In an email, Kanyisa Ndyondya, media and communications manager at Sabric, revealed that criminals trawl the internet to gather odd bits of information about victims that they then piece together to form profiles. Whilst the individual’s bits of information may be useless in isolation, having a profile of the victim enables the fraudster to step into the shoes of the person being impersonated.

Social media platforms are valuable sources of information for criminals.

“People should be aware that personal details such as the names of their children, their birthdays and their whereabouts, which they post on social media, could be abused by criminals,” warns Kalyani Pillay, CEO of Sabric.

Another way in which fraudsters attempt to steal bank customer’s details is by creating fake competitions, directing consumers to spoofed websites and intercepting emails to gain access to private information. Ndyondya says information is then used to trick the victim into disclosing even more sensitive information, that is used to impersonate the victim in fraudulent activities.

The theft of personal information has resulted in a number of South Africans being defrauded, with some only finding out that they have been a victim of identity theft when applying for new credit facilities.

The South African Fraud Prevention Services (SAFPS) has managed to save its members, which include banks, more than R8 billion in fraud prevention through early detection. The SAFPS believes more monies could be saved if bank customers were more vigilant in protecting their personal information.

Sabric further states that, as banks advance with new technologies to fight bank-related fraud, fraudsters are resorting to more subtle ways of stealing personal information.

The role out of the Home Affairs National Identification System (Hanis) biometric verification solution is reported to have made it difficult for criminals to commit identity fraud using tampered identity books, as banks can now verify the identity of clients using their biometric fingerprints.

Whilst it remains important to safeguard one’s identity document, it is important to know that other personal information is also a valuable commodity for criminals, especially in light of the success of the Hanis.

Personal information includes one’s driving licence, telephone numbers, email addresses, PINs and any other information that can uniquely identify you.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.