How to never-ever fall prey to ID theft… and info about a free service if you do

Identity theft is a big problem in South Africa, says Manie van Schalkwyk of the South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS).

A great deal of ID theft occurs online, while some fraudsters resort to scrounging through office waste and household rubbish looking for discarded information.

If you suspect identity fraud – or if you lost your ID, or passport - you may apply for Protective Registration on the SAFPS website.

This will give you added security and will alert the credit provider or bank that your ID number has been compromised.

This service is free of charge.

Do not:

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

  • Do not be a victim of waste retrieval. Never throw away documents with your bank account details, or other personal information without first destroying the information – either shred or burn it (do not tear it up or put it in a garbage or recycling bag).

  • Do not disclose personal information such as passwords and pins when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or even email.

  • Do not write down pins and passwords, and avoid obvious choices like birth dates and first names.

  • Do not use the information that may have been compromised. Rather use other personal information that you have not used previously to confirm your identity in future.

  • Don't use any Personal Identifiable Information (PII) as a password, user ID or personal identification number (PIN).

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

Do:

  • Store personal and financial documentation safely. Always lock it away.

  • Register a new email account.

  • Implement dual authentication for all accounts and products, especially for financial service products.

  • Register for SMS notifications to alert you when products and accounts are accessed.

  • Conduct regular credit checks to verify whether someone has applied for credit using your personal information and, if so, advise the creditor immediately.

  • Investigate and register for credit related alerts ordered by credit bureaux.

  • Check all your account statements regularly.

  • Keep pin numbers and passwords confidential.

  • Verify all requests for personal information and only give it out when there is a legitimate reason for doing so.

  • Use strong passwords for all your accounts.

  • Change your passwords regularly and never share them with anyone else.

  • Should your ID or driver’s licence get stolen, report it to SAPS immediately.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Van Schalkwyk.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for quotes from it).

We’re a non-profit organisation… We assist consumers who are victims of identity fraud.

Manie van Schalkwyk, South African Fraud Prevention Service

We definitely see new stuff… especially when it comes to cybercrime… [but] people are still falling for some of the same stuff…

Manie van Schalkwyk, South African Fraud Prevention Service

Treat your ID document like you would treat cash…

Manie van Schalkwyk, South African Fraud Prevention Service

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