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More and more South Africans are losing money due to fraud and other crimes. Perpetrators target their victims indiscriminately to make easy money at every opportunity. While some of these scams are easily identifiable, others are cleverly executed and require close scrutiny before they can be detected.

The theft of personal information, otherwise known as Identity Theft, is one of the leading contributors to a successful fraud. The consequences of your identity being compromised can be far-reaching and sometimes costly to remedy.

What can criminals do with your personal information?

It can be used by criminals to assume your identity and acquire retail or bank accounts, or even defraud your insurance, medical aid and Unemployment Insurance Fund. In some instances, they impersonate you and attend your bank and transact upon your accounts.

What is Personal Information?

  • ID
  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Salary advice
  • Municipal bill and merchant account statements
  • Bank statements

There are people who gather personal information about you in order to access your funds. Therefore make sure that it is difficult for strangers to access your personal information.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t carry unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse.
  • Don’t disclose personal information such 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.

Do’s:

  • Protect your personal information at all times.
  • Manage your personal information wisely.
  • When destroying personal information, either shred or burn it (do not tear or put it in a garbage or recycling bag).
  • Store personal and financial documentation safely. Always lock it away.
  • Keep PIN number and passwords confidential.
  • Pay attention to account cycles.
  • Verify all requests for personal information and only give it out when there is a legitimate reason to do so.
  • To prevent your ID being used to commit fraud, if it is ever lost or stolen, you should alert the SA Fraud Prevention Service immediately on 0860101 248 or at www.safps.org.za.
  • To protect your interests your information will be put on a database used by banks and retailers.
  • Verify 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.
  • Don’t use internet café’s or unsecure terminals (hotels, conference centres etc.) to do your banking.
  • Should your ID or driving license be stolen report it to SAPS immediately.