Identity Theft

What is personal information and what is confidential information?

  • Personal information includes identity documents, driver’s licenses, passports, addresses and contact details among others.
  • Confidential information includes usernames, passwords and PIN numbers.

MODUS OPERANDI

Your personal information 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 using social engineering, access your bank accounts and do transactions.

As some personal information such as your identity number cannot be changed readily, and other personal information such as your home and work addresses are impractical to change, we recommend that you consider the following precautionary measures when you are required to provide personal information for security verification purposes:

  • Do not use any information that may have been compromised. Rather use other personal information that you have not used previously to confirm your identity in future.
  • Register a new email account.
  • Implement dual authentication for all accounts and products, especially for financial services 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 credit grantor immediately.
  • Investigate and register for credit related alerts offered by credit bureaus.
  • Check your bank statements regularly.

TIPS

  • Don’t carry unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse.
  • Don’t disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or even email.
  • Don’t write down PINs and passwords, and avoid obvious choices like birth dates and first names.
  • 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.
  • Use strong passwords for all your accounts.
  • Change your passwords regularly and never share them with anyone else.
  • Store personal and financial documentation safely. Always lock it away.
  • Keep PIN numbers and passwords confidential.
  • Verify all requests for personal information and only provide these 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, alert the SA Fraud Prevention Service immediately on 0860 101 248 or at safps.org.za.
  • Ensure that you have a robust firewall and install antivirus software to prevent a computer virus sending out personal information from your computer.
  • When destroying personal information, either shred or burn it (do not tear or put it in a garbage or recycling bag).
  • Should your ID or driver's license be stolen report it to the SAPS immediately.