BUSINESS NEWS - South African consumers must get used to relying on themselves only to protect them from identity theft, says Manie van Schalkwyk, CEO of Southern African Fraud Preventions Services (SAFPS) after it was announced that the personal information of some Ford Credit customers were leaked along with the information of Absa clients from the joint venture between Absa and Ford Credit in South Africa.
The only way to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud is to apply for free identity protection from the SAFPS by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can SMS the word “Protectid” to 43366.
Once registered, this service would alert SAFPS members, including banks and credit providers, that your identity could be compromised. Members, such as all large banks and other credit providers, then have to exercise additional care to confirm that they are transacting with the legitimate identity holder, said Van Schalkwyk.
This meant that your own legitimate credit applications are subjected to extra scrutiny that could delay the process somewhat, but Van Schalkwyk pointed out that this was a small price to pay for the peace of mind that your identity was safer.
Absa said last week Monday that one of its employees unlawfully made selected customer data available to a small number of external parties.
This leak follows a data leak from credit bureau Experian in September, when data from this leak was found on the internet.
Although information such as account numbers were not leaked, scammers could use the information leaked to trick consumers into divulging more sensitive details such as account numbers and PINs.
- Never disclose personal information, such as passwords and PIN’s, when someone asks you for it, even if the person is from your bank. Your bank will never ask you to disclose this information.
- Change your password regularly and never share it with anyone. Be very careful with all requests for your personal information and only provide it when you are sure that there is a legitimate reason for requiring it.