Identity theft in South Africa accounts for nearly two out of five detected fraud cases. It’s estimated that identity theft costs the local economy R1 billion each year.
According to the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 consumers have the right to dispute any factually incorrect information on their credit report and have the information corrected.
If you suspect identity theft, make sure that you contact the credit providers that have listed you immediately and request a copy of the application form which was allegedly signed when the account was opened.
According to the latest statistics from the South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS), identity theft in South Africa is on the decline.
There were 3334 reported identity theft cases reported in 2014, while in 2015 there were 2470 cases. This decline seems to indicate that better preventative measures are being put in place.
According to Jacques Coetzee, Information Security Officer at Compuscan: “Cybercrime is one of the most convenient forms of identity theft as criminals run less risk of physically getting caught.”
Ways to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft in South Africa:
- Safeguard your ID number. Make sure that you don’t just give your ID number to anyone.
- Examine your statements every month to find any unusual payments which you aren’t aware of.
- Strengthen your passwords to make it difficult for hackers to access your personal information.
- Never give out any personal information over the phone
- Be vigilant and don’t freely trust pop-up adverts
- Make sure that you never share login details via email
If you need any more tips on avoiding becoming a victim of identity theft in South Africa, you can simply contact the SAFPS, which was established in 2001. The institution provides free assistance to victims of identity theft.