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.