Someone has opened a cell phone contract and a store account in my name. How should I deal with it?
Is someone using your personal details to open an account or get credit? This is called identity and impersonation fraud, which occurs when someone uses personal details such as an individual’s identity number or name to commit crimes.
According to the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS), identity fraud in South Africa has increased by 99% since 2018, costing the economy one billion per year. In 2022, 62% of total fraud incidents occurred in Gauteng, while fraud increased by 117% from the previous year.
The most prevalent ways identity thieves access the victim’s personal information are:
- Phishing: Getting the victim to give out their private details, such as passwords and credit card numbers, via email.
- Malware: Tricking the victim into installing software that gives the identity thief direct access to personal files.
- Hacking: Gaining unauthorised access to data in the individual’s devices or government files.
- Document theft: Stealing the victim’s personal documents, such as bank statements or ID to use their identity.
Through identity fraud, criminals could:
- Open new accounts
- Steal money from the victim
- Get loans and multiple store accounts
Create serious debt which impacts an individual’s credit rating and tarnish their financial reputation
If you know or suspect you’re a victim of identity fraud:
- Report the fraud to the SAFPS (South African Fraud Prevention Service) on 011 867 2234 or via email – firstname.lastname@example.org which will inform all creditors to be aware of any credit requests in your name.
- Report the fraud to the SAPS (South African Police Service) at your nearest police station and provide any evidence from your billing history that may help identify the thief.
- Make copies of all relevant affidavits which you can provide to creditors confirming details of the identity fraud.
- Contact your bank immediately if you notice a strange or unauthorised debit order.
- Get in touch with a friendly professional attorney at Hammond Pole for detailed legal advice.
For more information, contact: TAbbotts@hammondpole.co.za