Beware of identity theft

2018-09-19 06:02

IDENTITY theft normally starts with a stolen or lost ID book. The victim's photograph is usually replaced with that of the fraudster who is doing the impersonation.

“Armed with a fraudulent ID book, fraudulent bank statements etc. they can apply for loans, take out contracts or even open fraudulent bank accounts,” says Mellony Ramalho of African Bank.

While ID theft won't cost you in the short term, it is the long-term cost that is the biggest issue. You have to be removed from being blacklisted by credit bureau, prove that the transactions were not yours and, in some instances, even change your identity number.

TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY FRAUD

• Don't keep any unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse.

• Don't give out your personal information such as passwords and pins when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or even e-mail.

• Don't write down pins and passwords and avoid obvious choices like birth dates and first names.

• Don't use internet cafes or insecure terminals (hotels, conference centres etc.) to do your banking.

• Don't be a victim of dumpster diving — where criminals dig through your rubbish to find personal information. Never throw away documents with your bank account details or other personal information without first destroying the information.

DO'S

• Protect your personal information at all times.

• Check your credit profile at a bureau like TransUnion, Experian, XDS or Compuscan at least once a year. This is a free service.

• Check all requests for personal information and only give it out when there is a legitimate reason to do so.

• Install firewall and antivirus software protection to prevent a computer virus sending out personal information from your computer.

If you do become the unsuspecting victim of ID fraud you must immediately report your lost or stolen ID or driver's license to SAPS and alert SA Fraud Prevention Service.

Source: SABRIC — The South African Banking Risk Information Centre and African Bank

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