As banks advance with new technologies to fight bank-related fraud, fraudsters are resorting to more subtle ways of stealing personal information so as to perpetrate identity-related fraud.

In the past, criminals focused on stealing ID books so they could replace the photograph and impersonate the victim when applying fraudulently for products or services. They are now collecting diverse personal information, whether it’s an email address or a phone number, and then using this information collectively to take over customer identities.  What is worse is that most of this information is freely shared by bank consumers, without being aware that it can be used by criminals to defraud them.

The role out of the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS) biometric verification solution by several banks has made it difficult for criminals to commit identity fraud using tampered ID books as banks can now verify the identity of their clients using their biometric fingerprints.  Criminals are aware that they will now be detected through the HANIS verification solution should they present a tampered ID book.

While it remains extremely important to safeguard your ID document, it is important to know that other personal information is also a valuable commodity for criminals, especially in light of the success of the HANIS biometric verification solution.  Personal information also includes your driving licence, physical address, telephone numbers, email addresses, passwords, PIN’s and any other information that can uniquely identify you.

Follow these 10 tips to minimise the risk of falling victim to identity theft:

  • Make sure that all your accounts have strong passwords that are not easy to decipher
  • Don’t disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or even email
  • Shred all documents that contain your personal information and do not throw away anything that someone else could use to impersonate you
  • Avoid carrying unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse
  • Be selective with the type of information that you share on social media sites and make use of strict privacy settings
  • Do not get taken in by scammers who send messages telling you that you have won a prize, or inherited monies as they could be trying to defraud you
  • Store personal and financial documents safely and always lock them away
  • Don’t use Internet Cafes or unsecure terminals such as hotels and conference centres to do your banking
  • Should your ID or driving  licence be stolen, report it to the SAPS and the SAFPS immediately
  • To prevent your ID from being used to commit fraud, if it is ever lost or stolen, you should alert the SAFPS on 0860 101 248

Article credit