Weekend Witness - - Opinion -

TER­SIA van Rooyen, man­ager at Tran­sUnion Africa re­spon­si­ble for con­sumer ed­u­ca­tion, said em­ploy­ees’ ex­po­sure to iden­tity theft is a worry, adding that fraud can be sig­nif­i­cantly min­imised through a credit alert.

“Iden­tity theft is usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with stolen iden­tity books and on­line fraud. But the fol­low­ing in­ci­dent proves that it can hap­pen any­where:”

One em­ployee was par­tic­u­larly hard hit: three store ac­counts were opened in her name, an ID doc­u­ment was is­sued by Home Af­fairs and seven credit ap­pli­ca­tions were made.

Once she had be­come aware of this, she opened an iden­tity theft case with the po­lice, and then spent hours con­tact­ing credit and ser­vice providers in or­der to re­store her credit rep­u­ta­tion.

“For­tu­nately, she didn’t need to ap­ply for ad­di­tional credit for her­self dur­ing that pe­riod. Imag­ine, how­ever, what would have hap­pened if she had wanted, for ex­am­ple, to buy her dream house and needed to ap­ply for a home loan while the fraud­sters were in the process of de­stroy­ing her good name,” said Van Rooyen.

When any­one ap­plies for credit from any credit or ser­vice provider, an in­quiry on that per­son’s credit report is made at a credit bureau.

A Tran­sUnion credit alert will ad­vise sub­scribers via e-mail or SMS that such an in­quiry has been made. If the sub­scriber has not ap­plied for credit, there will be an alert that some­thing is amiss.

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