Ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft

Ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft

Identity theft can drain your bank account, damage your credit, or even lead to your arrest. Here is how you can ensure that you are protected.

Hacker dark face using laptop

In August, Experian suffered a significant data breach which exposed the personal information of approximately 24-million South Africans.

READ: SA banks move to reassure customers amid Experian data breach

The danger of the data breach is that it can lead to identity theft. This means millions of South Africa can find themselves victims of fraudulent activities that are done in their name. 

In 2019, the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) reported that there has been a sharp increase in identity fraud. The impersonation by fraudsters using real IDs and names has increased by 99% from 2018 figures. 

However, there are things that you can do to ensure that you prevent yourself from becoming a victim. 

Let's look at ways you can protect your identity: 

- Register on Southern African Fraud Prevention Service which will block all credit applications in your name. 

- Check your credit report. Companies such as Transunion and creditbureau.co.za offer free credit checks and alerts.  This means you will have access to what your ID is being used for to avoid identity theft or people taking out credit in your name. 

- Never share your password or pin or any other personal information via telephone, SMS, or email. 

- Check your bank statements on a regular basis to identify any transaction that might have happened without your consent. 

READ: Data Privacy Day: Six ways to protect your personal data

- Before you throw out personal documents, destroy them first by either shredding or ripping them up.

- Be careful of the information you share on social media. Stay away from sharing personal information that can jeopardise your security. 

- Change your password on a regular basis.  

- Do not save your password when prompted to do so when online. 

- Verify all requests for personal information and only provide personal information when there is a legitimate reason to do so.

- Only confirm bank account information directly with the person providing the service via telephone before payments are made.

- Do not share your personal, banking or credit card information with people. 

- Protect yourself from Cybercrime by making sure you don't open strange links. 

- You must enable additional security-related features to protect your email account, such as two-factor authentication.

In the case of identity theft, please contact the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service

Image courtesy of iStock/@spyarm

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