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Roy Retief, op­er­a­tions man­ager for the South African Fraud Pro­tec­tion Ser­vices (SAFPS), says you should look after your iden­tity “the same way you look after your cash”.

“Don’t leave any doc­u­ments con­tain­ing per­sonal de­tails ly­ing around the house, in the car, or in your brief­case.”

Doc­u­ments should be shred­ded be­fore be­ing thrown away and mail should be cleared out of post­boxes as soon as pos­si­ble. Also be wary of web links re­ceived via SMS or email “un­less you’ve ini­ti­ated the trans­ac­tion and you’re com­fort­able it’s been sent from an au­then­tic source”, Retief says.

It can be risky to post pic­tures of your driver’s li­cence or num­ber plate of your new car on so­cial me­dia.

“Crim­i­nals can see de­tails such as your iden­tity num­ber, have an ex­am­ple of your ID photo, and in cer­tain cases even see the num­ber plate on your ve­hi­cle.”

Con­sumers are en­ti­tled to one free credit re­port from a credit bureau each year.

“You’ll be able to see if credit en­quiries were con­ducted against your pro­file.

“If there were, and you’re un­aware of them, you should contact the credit bureau to ob­tain more in­for­ma­tion be­cause you may have been im­per­son­ated.”

If your ID has been stolen, re­port it im­me­di­ately to home af­fairs and the po­lice. The SAFPS also has a free pro­tec­tive reg­is­tra­tion ser­vice (www.safps.

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