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Identity - Theft Fraud On The Rise

Fraud related to identity theft cost South African businesses millions

The evidence show a dramatic increase in Identity theft, statistics show that every minute somewhere in the world someones identity is being stolen. Frightening is it not

Credit-card fraud made up the bulk of the crimes classified as identity theft.

"While actually having your identity stolen is less likely than having your credit card nicked, the one tends to lead to the other,"

The identity-theft fraud chain usually began with the theft of documents like a credit card, driver's licence, Passport or ID book.

Criminals could use the information from these documents to register new credit or bank cards and run up debt in your name.

"They can take out loans, apply for new passports or identity documents, rent an apartment, open retail accounts or open a telephone account.

"They could even give your name to the police if they are arrested. If released on bail, any future arrest warrants would also be in your name."

Often people only discovered quite late that they were or are victims of this fraud.

Anyone who suspected they might be a victim of fraud should contact their banks immediately.

"This is only the beginning of an often long and expensive process of reclaiming your identity, clearing your name and restoring you credit-worthiness,"

He said people could minimise the risk of this kind of theft by not carrying extra credit cards and by cancelling any accounts not used.

People should also regularly check credit reports and bank statements. Papers with sensitive financial information should be shredded not thrown away.

"Considering the very real costs, identity-theft insurance, like third -party liability, is likely to become an essential insurance purchase,"



Identity Theft 'Costing SA Millions'

Identity theft could be costing South Africa more than R1-billion every year, according to a major credit bureau and a national insurance organisation.

The SA Fraud Prevention Service, a non-profit organisation that works to combat fraud, identity theft and financial crime, says it is getting up to 25 complaints daily.

ID theft had become "the white collar crime of choice" because it was "so easy".

Armed with somebody else's personal details and ID number, a fraudster could "open numerous accounts ...and then go on a spending spree",

Alexander Forbes Insurance estimated that identity theft-related fraud had cost South African businesses R276-million in a three month period.

The "identity theft fraud chain" usually started with the theft of personal documents: credit cards, driver's licences, passports or ID books.

Many South Africans did not protect these documents well enough and provided their ID numbers "far too readily".

"There is a widespread lack of understanding of just how valuable this information is. An ID document should be protected just as carefully as a cheque book or a credit card,"

It is suggested that people should "minimise the risk" of identity theft by not carrying extra credit cards, and by cancelling any accounts that were not in use.

South African Fraud Prevention Services says identity theft was a huge problem.

It was possible that South Africa was losing R1 billion a year because of ID theft, but "nobody has got any real figures". In the past two months the Fraud Prevention Service had received nearly 200 reports from people claiming to be victims of ID theft.

"The SAFPS is getting 20 or 25 calls a day,"

Identity fraud was difficult to prevent because people were accessing ID documents and it was easy to get credit card details.

One should contact credit bureaus regularly to see if anybody had been making inquiries against one's name

The Fraud Prevention Service recommends that you immediately contact police to report the theft or loss of your ID.

For more details go to or telephone 086 010 1248.



Identity Theft Insurance

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