How you can help halt iden­tity fraud

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

BE wary if you lose your iden­ti­fi­ca­tion book (ID). The per­son who picks it up or steals it could try to im­per­son­ate you and steal your good name.

He or she could even steal goods and ser­vices by ap­ply­ing for credit in your name. Some peo­ple have found out that they have been mar­ried to il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

If you lose your iden­tity doc­u­ment, driver’s li­cence or pass­port, you must im­me­di­ately go to your near­est po­lice sta­tion and re­port the theft and get a case num­ber :

Al­ways keep your ID (iden­tity book), pass­port and driver’s li­cence in a safe place. Avoid keep­ing all th­ese items to­gether. If your pass­port is lost, you can use your ID book to ap­ply for a new pass­port.

Be­fore you dis­close any per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, find out how it will be used. Find out if the in­for­ma­tion will be kept con­fi­den­tial.

When you are re­quested to fill in per­sonal de­tails on doc­u­ments, en­sure that the com­pany you are deal­ing with is le­git­i­mate. Ver­ify if the rep­re­sen­ta­tive pos­ing on be­half of the com­pany does in­deed work at the com­pany in ques­tion.

Keep a record of your ac­counts and fol­low up if they do not ar­rive on time.

Guard your mail from theft. Re­move mail from your let­ter­box as soon as it has been de­liv­ered. If you are go­ing to be away from home, ask a neigh­bour to col­lect your mail for you.

If you move to a new place of res­i­dence, change your ad­dress on your ac­counts without de­lay. .Don’t use pre­dictable pass­words such as your date of birth or tele­phone num­ber on your ac­counts.

Carry only the amount of in­for­ma­tion that you will ac­tu­ally need in your hand­bag, brief­case, wal­let or purse and guard your ID book, credit and/or bank cards.

Don’t give out per­sonal in­for­ma­tion on the phone, through the mail or over the In­ter­net un­less you have ini­ti­ated the con­tact or know whom you are deal­ing with.

Keep items with per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in a safe place. Tear or shred doc­u­ments such as credit applications, bank state­ments and re­ceipts. .Don’t leave per­sonal in­for­ma­tion ly­ing around dur­ing home ren­o­va­tions or if you em­ploy out­side help.

If you live with house­mates, en­sure that your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion re­mains pri­vate.

Give your ID only when ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary. Ask to use other types of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, if pos­si­ble.

Re­quest a copy of your credit re­port from each of the ma­jor credit re­port­ing agen­cies ev­ery year. Make sure it is ac­cu­rate and in­cludes only those trans­ac­tions you have au­tho­rised.

If pos­si­ble, know how much money is avail­able in your bank ac­count on a day-to­day ba­sis.

Go to your near­est po­lice sta­tion and re­port the theft of your iden­tity doc­u­ment im­me­di­ately. Get a case num­ber. As po­lice sta­tions are open 24 hours ev­ery day you do not have to wait for of­fice hours to re­port the theft.

You can also re­ceive a sworn af­fi­davit and in­ci­dent book (IB) num­ber.

As the theft and sub­se­quent events may have a neg­a­tive im­pact on your good name, you need to pro­tect it. You can do this by con­tact­ing the SA Fraud Preven­tion Ser­vice on their hot­line 0860 10 1248 or web­site and ask them to reg­is­ter your case.

You will then be given a pro­tec­tive regis­tra­tion num­ber to quote when ap­ply­ing for credit in fu­ture. You could also con­sult a rep­re­sen­ta­tive at any branch of the coun­try’s ma­jor banks.

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